Devolution and the politics of business representation in Britain: A strategic - Relational approach

David Valler, Andrew Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In this paper we seek to exploit some of the insights of a strategic-relational approach in examining the response of business interests to the newly devolved and regionalised governance context in Britain. In the analysis, the focus is directed particularly at the changing context within which business politics operates in the British regions and, importantly, on the perceptions of business actors and interests of their position in these changing contexts. In this way, we seek to move beyond established structuralist and agency-oriented approaches to business interest representation, which have tended to underplay the influence and complexity of business perceptions in exploring the changing form of business representation. Subsequently, we present some further brief comments on the respective capacities of groups and organisations representing business, and the strategic processes that underlie business responses to the new governance arrangements, which will be important to the further development of analysis founded in the strategic - relational approach. In broad terms, we argue that business perceptions of the devolutionary context have underscored a limited restructuring of business interest representation in Britain, as business groups register the ongoing centralism that characterises the British polity. In addition, the organisation of business interest representation displays a strong path dependency, reflecting a degree of institutional stasis and the strength of perceived structures in this sphere. However, a series of relatively modest changes are underway as a variety of business interests adopt particular kinds of strategies given their specific aims and capacities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1835-1854
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)


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