CfP: Corporate Archives & the Production of History

Private Interests or National Heritage?
Corporate Archives and the Production of History in a Global Perspective

An International Workshop organised jointly by the Unit for Economic History at Gothenburg
University and the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg
Venue: Regional State Archives in Gothenburg
Date: November 24th–25th 2016

As in many fields of social life, history has seen a turn to a transnational or global perspective, asking questions about the patterns  and variations  across and between  rather  than simply within countries. Corporate archives are preserved for a variety of reasons. Likewise they are preserved in a multitude of different places and under a multitude of different conditions.  These variations might reflect differences in how corporate records are viewed and valued, to whom they are seen to belong, and in the uses to which it is believed they can be put. Sometimes  companies  retain records out of habit or inertia. Others have a more active interest in preserving their history and perhaps in preparing for writing that history. The archive can be used for branding and marketing purposes, for image creation by the companies, for change management or for other strategic purposes. Some corporate archives are collected and organized to the highest standards of the archive profession, while others are merely a result of requirements to keep specific records. Other companies,  whether purposefully or otherwise, rarely retain archives or regularly destroy them/their records and documents. The fate of an archive when a company dies is another important question, as is the fate of the archives of state-owned enterprises experiencing  privatization.  In general, corporate owners of archives do not always recognize the contemporary  value or historical importance of their records.

Nonetheless, it is increasingly acknowledged that corporate archives can provide important material which enable new perspectives and alternative histories to be written and that they are useful not only for business historians and those commissioned to write corporate histories, but that they can also provide rich material and valuable sources for political and economic historians, and for social, labour, and cultural historians. Private archives in general and the corporate archives in particular, can, moreover, also be valuable for wider groups of users and many stakeholders have interest in the archives. Apart from owners and historians, the corporate archive can be valuable for museums, local communities and the public in general.

However,  private corporate archives are not always considered important to either national heritage or to historical writing. State archives are often charged with preserving what might be thought of as the public history of the nation. Private corporate  archives might be seen as having an inferior status to official governmental archives. Moreover, not even national archives have unlimited resources. There is then very little consistency or consensus about how, where or why corporate archives might be preserved and made available. This inconsistency  poses a potential threat to our understanding of the relationship between corporations, enterprise, and society.

Thus, as we have noted, corporate  archives are preserved in many different venues, by many different bodies, and for many different reasons. Besides private corporate archives stored in-house by the companies themselves, they can be preserved in large private organisations,  which retain private collections,  they can be deposited in museums or in national or regional public archives, in libraries, and in university collections. But if there is considerable variation and inconsistency at the national level then how much truer is this at an international or global level? What patterns can be observed? What are the implications of such patters, and what can they tell us? This is the focus of our workshop.

Our sense  is that choices around the institutions  and practices  of the archive have real implications for the kinds of history  generated. Are we correct in this? Our aim in organizing this conference on corporate  archives in global perspective is not simply to gain an overview of patterns and differences between countries  but also to enquire as to what consequences  these patterns and variations have for the production, dissemination, and reception of history. The international perspective will, it is intended, throw these issues into sharper relief.

We are delighted  to announce a two-day conference, to be hosted by the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg,  Sweden (organsied jointly with Unit of Economic History at Gothenburg University), with the aim of beginning to consider and address these questions. We are seeking the participation  of historians, archivists, and business owners and managers.

Questions that might be considered include but are not limited to:

  • What patterns and differences in the handling of private corporate archives can be observed from an international perspective?
  • How do these patterns and differences impact what is preserved and stored, how it is organized, who has access to it, and how (and by whom) it is used?
  • What is the role of public archives for private ones? Have models of organizations of material in public archive ‘spilled over’ on how private archives are organized?
  • What challenges and opportunities are created in this area by the rise of Multinational Enterprises and other forms of transnational organization and institution?
  • If there are variations to be observed, then can we see any sign of convergence on international norms and standards, as is happening in other fields of social life?
  • How might observed variations be explained? How important  are legal contexts, for example through variation in legal requirements for record keeping and corporate reporting?
  • Do observed patterns reflect deep across societies and cultures in terms of their relationship to history and the historical record? In other words, what might a society’s archiving choices tell us about its relationship to and use of history? Such variations might also alert us to variations in socio-cultural  attitudes towards private interests versus the public good.
  • Similarly, we are interested in the implications of any variations that might be observed have for the kinds of history that is preserved and for the kinds of histories (that might be textual or take many other forms) that are produced, from one country to another?

We invite paper proposals dealing with any of these topics.

Deadline for proposal is June 1, 2016.

Please address the proposals and all expressions of interest to either Susanna Fellman ( or Andrew Popp (

Program PDW Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship, March 31, 2016 Portland, OR

Supported by the CBS Rethinking History at Business School Initiative David Kirsch, Christina Lubinski, and Dan Wadhwani are hosting a Paper Development Workshop on Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Theory & Research. The workshop will take place on March 31, 2016, 9am-5pm; immediately before the BHC annual meeting and at the same location: the Embassy Suites by Hilton Downtown Portland, Room: Roy Yates (Lobby Level).

The program below shows an interesting mix of themes and scholars from entrepreneurship studies and history. Please get in touch with Christina Lubinski ( if you are interested in reading any of the papers.

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.                    Welcome

9:15 – 10:15 a.m.                  Turning Points and Financial Innovation

Commentator: David Kirsch (University of Maryland, College Park)

“Creative Construction: The Importance of Fraud and Froth in Emerging Technologies,” Jonathan Coopersmith (Texas A&M University)

“Entrepreneurship, Financial Systems and Economic Development,” Steven Toms, Nick Wilson and Mike Wright (University of Leeds Business School and Imperial College London)

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.               Entrepreneurial Uses of History

Commentator: Roy Suddaby (University of Victoria)

“The Legacy of 20th Century Black American Entrepreneurs: Education and Entrepreneurial Self –Efficacy,” Carolyn Davis and Keith Hollingsworth (Morehouse College)

“Strategic and Institutional Uses of the Past by Family Philanthropic Foundations,” Ida Lunde Jorgensen (Copenhagen Business School) and Roy Suddaby (University of Victoria)

“An Entrepreneur’s Cathedral: Expressing and Preserving Founder Legacy in a Family Business. The Case of Fiberline Composites,” Ellen M. Korsager and Anders Ravn Sørensen (Copenhagen Business School)

11:15 – 11:45am                   Coffee Break

11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.     Entrepreneurial Biographies Revisited

Commentator: Mads Mordhorst (Copenhagen Business School)

“Entrepreneurs as Actors: Biographical Approaches and the Analysis of Entrepreneurship,” Uwe Spiekermann (Goettingen University)

“Institutional Entrepreneurship and Ideological Rhetoric: Establishing the Global Hotel Industry” Mairi Maclean and Charles Harvey (Newcastle University Business School)

“Paran Stevens and the Birth of Hotel Entrepreneurship,” Daniel Levinson Wilk (Fashion Institute of Technology, New York)

12:45 – 2:15 p.m.                 Lunch

2:15 – 3:15pm                         History and Entrepreneurship

Commentator: Andrew Nelson (University of Oregon)

“What Entrepreneurial History Could Be and Why It Matters,” Dan Raff (Wharton School / University of Pennsylvania)

“Reconciling the JBV and the Past Futures Methodology: Towards a Synthesis and Research Methodology,” Andrew Smith (University of Liverpool) and Kevin Tennent (University of York)

3:15 – 3:45 p.m.                    Coffee Break

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.                    International Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change

Commentator: Geoffrey Jones (Harvard Business School)

“Born Global in 1850: A Historical Method for Understanding Entrepreneurs Across Time and Space,” Michael Aldous (Queen’s University, Belfast)

“Freeing the Market: Entrepreneurship and Institutional Change in Brazil, 1874-1904,” Kari E. Zimmerman and David L. Deeds (University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota)

4:45 – 5:00 p.m.                    Concluding discussion

The purpose of this workshop is to provide scholars with developmental feedback on work-in-progress related to historical approaches to entrepreneurship and strategy, broadly construed. Our aim is support the development of historical research on entrepreneurship for publication in leading journals, including for the special issue of Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal. In addition to providing feedback and suggestions for specific topics, the workshop will address the commonly faced challenges of writing for a double audience of historians and entrepreneurship/management scholars, engaging entrepreneurship theory and constructs, and identifying the most valuable historical sources and methods in studying entrepreneurial phenomena.

PhD Courses in Historical Approaches to Business and Management

Kyoto PhD Course

One of the important challenges that Management and Organizational History must face is cultivating the next generation of scholars. There are relatively few established PhD courses that train students in business and management history, and little attention to what constitutes a foundational curriculum in the field.

Last week, I had a chance to test out some ideas for a curriculum when I co-taught a one-week PhD course at Kyoto University with Professor Takafumi Kurosawa. The students included early and mid-stage PhD students from 5 countries. We took a basic introductory orientation to the field. The topics covered: 1. Historiography, 2. Advantages of Historical Conceptualization, 3. Historical Research Processes and Methods, 4. Applications.

Some basic thoughts occurred to us as we taught that I think provide lessons for such efforts in the future. 1. Business, Economic, and Management History tends to engage in relatively little historiographical reflection about the development of historical approaches, and yet it’s crucial to not only the intellectual coherence but also socialization into the field. 2. We tend to place insufficient attention to the historical research process, and particular to the question of why one turns to history at all. But a discussion of the historical research process, and a comparison to research process in other social sciences, is incredibly helpful to students in comprehending and communicating how they are going about their work. 3. Specific examples are worth their weight in gold.

We’d love to hear the experiences of others, and engage in a discussion of how to train PhD students. So, when you get a chance, share your thoughts!

Study for a Funded PhD With Us!

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

I am pleased to announce that we are now in the process of recruiting a PhD student. The PhD student, who will receive a full tuition-fees waiver and a living stipend, will work on a project of their own design that relates to the archives of Barclays Bank, our private-sector partner. At the end of the process, you will received a PhD from the University of Liverpool. This PhD project could lead to employment in private industry or as an academic in either management or archives and records studies.

If you wish to discuss this matter with me before the application deadline, please email me. Full details of the studentship are below. As you can see from the description below, we are seeking applications from people who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years. Our preference would be for a PhD student who already has a…

View original post 392 more words

CFP: Workshop Series “Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship” (Copenhagen, May 24, 2016)

CFP: Workshop Series “Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship”

May 24, 2016, Copenhagen Business School

Porcelænshaven 16B, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark, “The Studio” (Ground Floor)

Deadline: April 18, 2016 for abstracts

Conveners: Bill Gartner (Copenhagen Business School), David Kirsch (Univ. of Maryland), Christina Lubinski (Copenhagen Business School, R. Daniel Wadhwani (Univ. of the Pacific), Friederike Welter (Univ. of Siegen and Institut für Mittelstandsforschung Bonn)


After previous workshops in Copenhagen (2014), Miami (2015) and Portland (2016) we are happy to announce the fourth workshop in the series “Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Theory & Research” to be held at Copenhagen Business School on May 24, 2016.

In recent years, both business historians and entrepreneurship scholars have grown increasingly interested in the promise of using historical sources, methods and reasoning in entrepreneurship research. History, it has been argued, can be valuable in addressing a number of limitations in traditional approaches to studying entrepreneurship, including in accounting for contexts and institutions, in understanding the relationship between entrepreneurship and economic change, in providing multi-level perspectives on the entrepreneurial process and in situating entrepreneurial behavior and cognition within the flow of time. Support for historical research on entrepreneurship has grown, with both leading entrepreneurship researchers and business historians calling for the use of historical perspectives and with Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal announcing a call for papers for a special issue devoted to history and entrepreneurship.

The purpose of this workshop is to provide scholars with developmental feedback on work-in-progress related to historical approaches to entrepreneurship and strategy, broadly construed. Our aim is to support the development of historical research on entrepreneurship for publication in leading journals, including for the special issue of Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal (see, In addition to providing feedback and suggestions for specific topics, the workshop will address the commonly faced challenges of writing for a double-audience of historians and entrepreneurship/management scholars, engaging entrepreneurship theory and constructs, and identifying the most valuable historical sources and methods in studying entrepreneurial phenomena. We welcome work-in-progress at all stages of development. Interested scholars may submit two types of submissions for discussion: full research papers (8,000 words) or paper ideas (1,000 to 3,000 words).

The workshop will take place at Copenhagen Business School, one of the world leading environments for historical research at business schools and universities. If you have questions or are interested in participating, please submit an initial abstract of max. 300 words and a one-page CV before Monday, April 18, 2016 to David Kirsch (, Christina Lubinski ( or Dan Wadhwani ( Invitations to the workshop will be sent out before April 28, 2016. Full paper (8,000) and paper idea (1,000 to 3,000 words) submissions will be expected by Friday, May 13, 2016. If you are planning to submit to the SEJ special issue, please follow the journal’s formal guidelines (

Please feel free to contact the organizers with your paper ideas if you are interested in early feedback or want to inquire about the fit of your idea with this PDW.

The Broader Project

This workshop is part of a larger project that seeks to examine how analytical attention to history, context, and time may reshape theories of entrepreneurship as well as how these theories in turn allow us to re-consider how we account for agency, time and change in history. It follows on previous workshops in Copenhagen (2014), Miami (2015) and Portland (2016). The project is in the process of developing an intellectual community comprised of both historians and entrepreneurship theorists engaged in multidisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research on entrepreneurial history. Some of the questions the broader project will address include:

  • What is the relationship between theories of history and theories of entrepreneurship? How have they shaped one another over time and what are the ways in which they do so today?
  • In what ways different contexts (time, institutions, spatial contexts etc.) viewed in history and in entrepreneurship theory? How can more critical views of time and context contribute to our understanding of entrepreneurial behavior and the entrepreneurial process?
  • How do differences in methods and theorization matter to our understanding of entrepreneurship? Specifically, how should we think about the relationship between historians’ emphasis on deep context and narrative explanation and entrepreneurship researcher’s preference for valuing theoretical propositions from the point of view of advancing intellectual exchange between the two fields? What should we make of the tension between the theoretical inclination to gain insight through abstraction and the historical inclination to gain insight through contextualization? In what ways can the tension be productive or useful?
  • How does “history” or “the past” manifest itself in the entrepreneurial process? Is it constraining or enabling, and if “it depends,” then on what conditions does it depend? How is history “used” in the entrepreneurial process?
  • What is the relationship between narrative and history within the entrepreneurial process?
  • Can historical contextualization of the current moment (1970s-present) in entrepreneurship thought and practice help shed light on the present?
  • Can a deeper engagement with entrepreneurship theory allow us to understand the past in new ways and produce new history?

Individual and institutional support

The workshop and broader project is an initiative of the Copenhagen Business School’s Centre for Business History and Department of Management, Politics, and Philosophy in collaboration with scholars and institutions throughout Europe and North America. We are also grateful for support from the Entrepreneurship Platform and the Rethinking History in Business Schools Initiative at CBS.

ToC: Business History 58, 4

Business History, Volume 58, Issue 4, June 2016 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

This new issue contains the following articles:

‘To invite disappointment or worse’: governance, audit and due diligence in the Ferranti–ISC merger
Mark Billings, Anna Tilba & John Wilson
Pages: 453-478 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1085973

International shipping traffic as a determinant of the growing use of advertisements by local shopkeepers: a case study of eighteenth century Ghent
Stijn Ronsse & Glenn Rayp
Pages: 479-500 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1085974

The Oaks Colliery disaster of 1866: a case study in responsibility
Ben Harvey
Pages: 501-531 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1086342

Standing in the shadow of the corporation: women’s contribution to Swedish family business in the early twentieth century
Therese Nordlund Edvinsson
Pages: 532-546 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1105219

The British Airways Heritage Collection: an ethnographic ‘history’
Kristene E. Coller, Jean Helms Mills & Albert J. Mills
Pages: 547-570 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1105218

Complexity, anachronism and time-parochialism: historicising strategy while strategising history
Luca Zan
Pages: 571-596 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2014.956730

Book Reviews

Nickel. La naissance de l’industrie calédonienne
Hubert Bonin
Pages: 597-599 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1068518

Libr. XV: Cotrugli and de Raphaeli on Business and Bookkeeping in the Renaissance
Francesco Guidi-Bruscoli
Pages: 599-600 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1068520

Il farsi di una grande impresa. La Montecatini fra le due guerre mondiali
Vera Zamagni
Pages: 600-601 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1116785

The international distribution of news: the Associated Press, Press Association, and Reuters, 1848–1947
Howard Cox
Pages: 601-603 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1123802

Sanders Bros: the rise and fall of a British grocery giant
Phil Lyon
Pages: 603-604 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1123803

The entrepreneur in history: from medieval merchant to modern business leader
Matthew McCaffrey
Pages: 604-606 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1123804

The lion wakes: a modern history of HSBC
Geoffrey Wood
Pages: 606-608 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2015.1123807

Paper Development Workshop Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Theory & Research

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

AS: I’m looking forward to a paper development workshop that will be taking place the day before the Business History Conference in Portland.  I’ll be presenting a paper co-authored with Kevin Tennent. Our paper seeks to combine the Judgment-Based View of Entrepreneurship with the Past Futures methodology developed by the historian Ged Martin.

Paper Development Workshop
Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Theory & Research

Embassy Suites
319 SW Pine Street
Portland, OR 97204

March 31, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.                    Welcome

9:15 – 10:15 a.m.          Turning Points and Financial Innovation

Commentator: David Kirsch (University of Maryland, College Park)

“Creative Construction: The Importance of Fraud and Froth in Emerging Technologies,” Jonathan Coopersmith (Texas A&M University)

“Entrepreneurship, Financial Systems and Economic Development,” Steven Toms, Nick Wilson and Mike Wright (University of Leeds Business School and Imperial College London)

10:15 – 11:15 a.m.        Entrepreneurial Uses of History

Commentator: Roy Suddaby…

View original post 273 more words

New article: Reassembling the Economic

A new article discussing new avenues in business and economic history has been published in the influential American Historical Review. The abstract follows below.

Reassembling the Economic: New Departures in Historical Materialism

by Kenneth Lipartito


Recent writing in economic and business history is reexamining major transformations in world history—industrialization, capitalism, the global economy. This new literature avoids the structural determinism of old with much greater sensitivity to politics, culture, and social institutions. To a lesser degree it bridges the gap between social science–type history, often written by those trained in economics departments, and the more narrative styles of those trained in history departments. Taken as a whole, the recent scholarship offers a substantial rethinking of how we should engage material life, including the natural world, and a challenge to cultural historians who focus exclusively on language and representation. Woven through the various works is a possible new ontology that grants agency to things as well as people without the traditional tension between the power of external structures and the autonomy of human consciousness. This new materialism offers a way for historians to bring markets, finance, capital, technology, corporations, and other economic features of the past back into the historical narrative.

The American Historical Review(2016) 121 (1): 101-139.doi: 10.1093/ahr/121.1.101

Said BS TOPOS seminar with Martin Parker

TOPOS seminar with Martin Parker, Professor of Organisation and Culture from the University of Leicester, on Tuesday 31st May, 16.00-17.30, in the Boardroom of Said Business School, Oxford University.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Bethsheba McGill,

Title: Daniel Defoe and the Bank of England: The Dark Arts of Projectors

 Valerie Hamilton and Martin Parker


Our paper tells the truthful story of how the Bank of England came into being. It is a story of buccaneers, treasure, random good fortune and sheer determination. This is an institution founded on risk, daring and imagination. Our tale is entangled with that of the early novel, in particular the fortunes of one Moll Flanders, an entrepreneur of sexual relations in the growing London market for capital in the early eighteenth century. These accounts are woven together with the life-stories of Daniel Defoe and William Paterson, founders of two of the key institutions of our modern age, the novel and the corporation. This reveals connections which are nowadays forgotten, and which the fractured specialisms of ‘Literature’, ‘History’ and ‘Business’ can rarely see. These tales are set against the backdrop of the long eighteenth century – fervent years of inventiveness, high risk gambling, and political revolution. We show that the dark arts of deceit, and the credibility of fictions, are requirements for any creative enterprise, and that all organizations are fictions.

CfP: Out of Africa – World Congress on Business History, Bergen 2016

‘OUT OF AFRICA’: The Globalisation of African Enterprises.

Call for Papers: 1st World Congress on Business History / University of Bergen, 2016.


An open call for papers from researchers of African Business History for the World Congress on Business History to be held 25th – 27th August 2016, in Bergen Norway. By bringing together business and economic historians of Africa, this panel seeks to strengthen the study of business history in Africa. Collaborating with new and existing scholars from the field, and a rich sample of case studies from across Africa, the panel aims to publish special issues on African business history in the global context. The deadline for abstracts is March 25th, 2016. Please send a maximum of 1000 words, outlining the proposed paper to Edward Kerby, London School of Economics and LEAP (Stellenbosch),




Grietjie Verhoef   & Edward Kerby

The African continent is largely missing from debates in business history with numerous method- ological and archival challenges. Yet recent headlines extoll how business is coming to Africa, with 3 of the 10 fastest growing global cities. A continent of 54 counties, it is home to a billion consumers. Bypassing the constraints of legacy infrastructure, half of the population are under the age of 15 and adopting new technology. With this growth, African enterprises have also been globalising. No longer can the continent be merely seen as a source of commodities or a recipient of aid, but rather a rapidly expanding market with African business champions meeting rising demands. This change has led to a greater focus on the internationalisation of enterprises, the role of foreign direct investment and the historical roots of African enterprises.


Yet African businesses have not operated in a vacuum but were shaped by the first wave of globalisa- tion, decolonisation and 50 years of independence. This lends their histories to comparative case studies with globalisation from Asia and Latin America. With unique opportunities and challenges, African businesses have adapted to diverse geographic, political and institutional settings. Multinationals from Africa are less well-known, such as MTN (ICT), Standard Bank (Finance) or Dangote (Industrials), but so are small and medium sized enterprises expanding operations outside of home borders. These businesses offers unique political, cultural, ethnic and migrant narratives from which business history scholarship can draw.


The main assumption of this panel is that a historical exploration of enterprises “Out of Africa” can shed light on the past development path of business in Africa, as well as informing current and future African business leaders. These include, but are by no means limited to the deeper understanding of patterns of internationalisation, the impact of macroeconomic and political context on African FDI, patterns of adaptation, organisation and management of African firms, entrepreneurial qualities of African business leaders, the state in business development, business groups, the impact of inward FDI on African business, culture and ethnicity in African business, etc.


Expected  Participants:

  1. Chaired by Christopher Kobrak, ESCP Europe and University of Toronto.
  2. Same as Co-ordinating
  3. Chibuike Uche, African Studies Centre,


∗CO-ORDINATING ORGANISERS: Grietjie Verhoef, University of Johannesburg.

†Edward Kerby, London School of Economics and LEAP (Stellenbosch).