EGOS tracks with history

Next year, the Standing Working Group 8: History in Organization Studies, will no longer run at the European Group for Organization Studies Annual Conference. But since Copenhagen Business School is celebrating its centenary (please see the final call for sub-theme 44), there are in fact three tracks that mention history in their call. Hopefully see you next year at one of these tracks!

Sub-theme 04: (SWG) Long-shots and Close-ups: Organizational Ethnography, Process and History

… Ethnography – or, to emphasize its processual nature: ethnographying (Tota, 2004) – typically means, first, having a prolonged and intensive engagement with the research setting, following actors, issues, materials as they move through time and space (fieldwork). Second, ethnography embraces a sensibility towards overt, tacit and/or concealed processes of meaning-making (sensework). Third, ethnographic analyses are commonly presented through a written text, which places both author and reader at the scene, in the midst of a process, while also placing the day-to-day happenings within a social, political, and historical context (textwork). This allows organizational ethnographers to capture the unfolding of organizational life and its dynamism in at least two different ways (van Hulst et al., forthcoming; Ybema et al., 2009): taking ‘long shots’ that follow developments over an extended period of time (long-term dynamics) and making ‘close-ups’ of the dynamics of day-to-day organizational life (short-term dynamics). Some ethnographic researchers stretch their fieldwork over many months or years of present-time work; others include historical analysis and archival data. Both of these allow researchers to follow slow-paced developments or sudden transformations over long periods of time. These longitudinal ethnographies offer in-depth accounts of organizational life across time. A second potential strength of ethnography for studying organizational processes lies in its quality of eyeing the moment-to-moment details of everyday organizing. Having a shorter term focus, these studies bring into view, for instance, situational dynamics or organizational bricolage. …

For more details, please see the EGOS website.

Sub-theme 43: Theorizing the Past, Present and Future in Organization Theory

We have already posted the full call, but here just a quick introduction:

“Many organizational outcomes are the result of processes that occur over long periods of time. In spite of this, within much macro-level research the passage of time tends to be assumed or ignored, rather than theorized rigorously (Bluedorn & Denhardt, 1988; Goodman et al., 2001; Lee & Liebenau, 1999). One way in which we exclude time from our theories is by studying climactic moments of change. Although these “moments of institutional choice” are inherently interesting, focusing on them risks privileging the instance of change at the expense of the essential groundwork that generated the conditions under which the opportunity for change emerged (Pierson, 2004, p. 136). That is, our preference for studying dramatic instances of revolutionary change means that we know relatively little about processes of evolutionary change.”

For more details, please see the EGOS website.

Sub-theme 44: Rethinking History, Rethinking Business Schools

The EGOS Colloquium in 2017 coincides with the 100th anniversary of Copenhagen Business School (CBS), which will be commemorated in part by the publication of a history of the Business School written by members of the Centre for Business History at CBS. This coincidence provides an opportunity to rethink both the role of history in business schools, as well as the history of business schools themselves, along with the part played by management and organization studies within that history.

Both business schools and organization studies have sought to legitimate themselves through history in relation to older disciplines in the university. Textbooks regularly claim Max Weber as a founder for the so-called “Classical School” of management and organization studies even though Weber himself could never have been an adherent of such a school because it was only invented, along with organization studies, long after he died (Cummings & Bridgman, 2011). When Harvard Business School was facing criticism in the 1930s for the banality of management research, one response from the Dean, Wallace B. Donham, was to hire a historian to study management and to use a donation from the retailer Gordon Selfridge to buy historical business documents from Italy relating to the Medici family during the Renaissance (O’Connor, 2012, p. 58). …

For more details, please see the EGOS website.