More than a brass nameplate on the door: foreign ownership and control in the Companhia Real dos Caminhos de Ferro Portugueses (1870s-1880s)

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Despite the importance of foreign investment in the creation of the Portuguese railways, the impact on governance of the imbalance between the location of operations, and the sources of capital and project management capabilities has not attracted any research. The relationship between ownership and control of long-distance business ventures has been a major topic of the literature on the development of free-standing companies during the first global economy. The Portuguese railway Companhia Real did not have the formal characteristics of a free-standing company. However, the reconstruction of the decision-making processes within this firm reveals that it faced similar challenges to accommodate the agency problems raised by the distance between holders of property rights and managers in the field. This paper sheds further light on the discussion about ownership, managerial control and location of strategic decisions in firms like railways, utilities or mining companies in peripheral countries.

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Business History Association
Abbreviated titleEBHA 15th Annual Conference
CountryGreece
CityAthens
Period24/08/1126/08/11
Internet address

Keywords

  • Railways in Portugal
  • international business
  • ownership and control
  • governance

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