In defence of corporate competence: the Royal Navy executive officer corps, 1880-1919

Davison, Robert L. (2004) In defence of corporate competence: the Royal Navy executive officer corps, 1880-1919. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (17MB)


At the end of the nineteenth century the Executive Officer Corps of the Royal Navy faced significant challenges as it dealt with social, economic, political and technological change. Although rising international tension appeared to benefit the service as a whole, changes in force structure and organization presented threats to the professional competence of executive officers. Increased expenditure on defence and increasing public scrutiny was combined with the growth of other developing professions, especially engineering, that challenged older lines of authority. Also, the advance of education and skill of ratings and non-executives weakened the traditional claims by the executive officer corps to leadership over the lower deck and other branches of service. The corps attempted to deal with these issues by asserting its dominance in changing career patterns, finding new intellectual justification for the continued "culture of command" through the advent of modem naval history, and the institution of new, more efficient staff command systems. The corps also attempted to annex engineering functions through the Selbome education scheme of 1902. The outbreak of World War I in 1914, presented the corps with the hazardous task of justifying itself and making good on its claims to dominance within the establishment. Despite the setbacks and disasters of war, the corps largely managed to retain its dominance into the interwar period.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
Item ID: 10382
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 399-428.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > History
Date: 2004
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Great Britain
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Great Britain--Royal Navy--History--19th century; Great Britain--Royal Navy--History--20th century;Great Britain--Royal Navy--Management; Great Britain--Royal Navy--Officers;Great Britain--History, Naval--19th century; Great Britain--History, Naval--20th century;

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics