The Thatcher government and (de) regulation: modularisation of individual personal pensions

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The (de)regulation agenda of the Conservative government, led by Margaret Thatcher, and elected in 1979, is an important change point that has attracted only limited attention from management and historical research scholars. Thus, how (de)regulation in this era influenced the evolution of product design remains ripe for exploration. In this paper, we examine the UK individual personal pensions product market between the mid-1980s and mid-1990s to
examine the relationship between (de)regulation – an industry level factor – and its impact on architectural choices of product design – a product level factor. We adopt a retrospective, oral history research design to give voice to participants with first-hand product development experience of the change period, and find that (de)regulation reforms and the context of the financialization of product markets came to define how products were then designed, evolving product design from non-modular to near-modular, a trajectory that arguably
ontinues until the present day.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-207
JournalJournal of Management History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2018


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