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Mergers and Mobility: Occupational Implications of Organizational Growth at Lloyds Bank, 1885-1940

It is well known that when firms grow by amalgamating with other firms (particularly with other firms in the same sector) they must confront the problem of unifying distinct operating practices. It is also relatively well understood (by employees if by no one else) that growth through merger may disrupt occupational expectations at the individual level.

What is less obvious (and certainly less well studied) is the extent to which particular historical solutions to the problem of weaving discrete organizations into a single large firm can have distinctive structural implications for broader labor markets and systems of careers. It is this linkage, between the intra-organizational dynamic triggered by massive amalgamation and the production of new understandings of careers and ultimately middle class labor markets, that is the analytic focus of this paper. I will begin to empirically demonstrate this linkage by analyzing over one-hundred years of detailed organizational and occupational data, drawn from the archives of Lloyds Bank, one of the oldest, and still one of the largest, of England's Banks.