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!

3 thoughts on “PhD Courses in Historical Approaches to Business and Management”

    1. Hi Amon, It was a short class and we couldn’t assign much reading. Most of it came from the book Organizations in Time: History, Theory, Methods, which I co-edited with Marcelo Bucheli. I also used material from Rowlinson et al, Research Strategy in Organizational History, Stephanie Decker’s Silence of the Archives, and MacLean et al’s Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies.


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