LAEMOS 2018 – Organizational History & Memory

 LAEMOS 2018

 Sub-Theme Proposal –  Organizational History and Memory

Diego M. Coraiola – Universidade Positivo, Brazil (

Roy Suddaby – University of Victoria, Canada (

Maria Jose Murcia – University of British Columbia, Canada and IAE Universidad Austral, Argentina (

Mar Pérezts – EMLYON Business School, France (

Bill Cooke – York University, UK (

The notion of organizational resilience implies an implicit theory of organizations in time. Organizational survival lies in the ability of adapting to present and future demands from the environment as well as remaining true to an organization’s essence. Simply put, resilience is about being able to change and yet to remain the same. Reaching a proper balance between the old and the new or the past and the future is an ambidexterous act of exploration and exploitation or a paradox of similarity-distinctiveness. It involves establishing links between the legacies of organizational identities established in the past to aspirational strategies of an imagined future organization. However, there is still little knowledge of how the connections between the present and past of organizational action are created and sustained over time.

There is mixed evidence about the role of the past and history in organization survival. The past, it seems, can both enable and constrain adaptation and change. While for some scholars history defines the boundaries of organizational action and the possibilities of organizational resilience (David, 1985; Hannan & Freeman, 1989; Marquis, 2003; Porter, 1998; Teece, Pisano, & Shuen, 1997), for others the meaning of past actions and events is open for reinterpretation and reshaping through present actions and capabilities. (Coraiola, Foster, & Suddaby, 2015; Mena, Rintamäki, Fleming, & Spicer, 2016; Suddaby & Foster, 2016; Suddaby, Foster, & Trank, 2010; Zundel, Holt, & Popp, 2016). Empirical research on the mnemonics of organizational life might provide a better understanding of the organizational capabilities in generating alternative paths and adapting to changing environmental conditions and at the same time remaining true to themselves.

Our goal for this sub-theme, therefore, is to encourage theory on the mnemonic processes managers and organizations engage with in order to generate continuity and change with the past in ways that assure organizational survival and advantage them in the present and future. This calls for great variety of theoretical perspectives and empirical settings in order to start generating the cumulative evidence about the influences of historical legacies and the organizational ability for managing the past. Submissions focusing on the mnemonics of organizational resilience could look at:

  1.  What are the implications of past managerial action for organizational success and survival (Greve & Rao, 2014; Marquis, 2003; Schrempf-Stirling, Palazzo, & Phillips, 2016; Sydow & Schreyögg, 2013)?
  2.  What are the practices and routines organizations engage with in order to balance the reproduction and renovation of the past (Coraiola, Suddaby, Foster, 2017; Suddaby, Foster, Quinn-Trank, 2010)?
  3.  How managers use history to manage processes of organizational change (Brunninge, 2009; Maclean, Harvey, Sillince, & Golant, 2014; Ybema, 2010)?
  4.  How organizational identity is created and reproduced over time through various processes of remembering and forgetting (Anteby & Molnár, 2012; Ravasi & Schultz, 2006; Schultz & Hernes, 2013; Suddaby, Foster, & Trank, 2016)?
  5.  How organizations develop mnemonic practices to manage legitimacy threats and corporate scandals (Janssen, 2012; Mena, Rintamäki, Fleming, & Spicer, 2016)?
  6.  What are the boundary conditions around the uses of organizational mnemonics to foster organizational resilience (Foster, Coraiola, Suddaby, Kroezen, & Chandler, Forthcoming; Zundel et al, 2016)?
  7.  How management and organization scholars contribute to the understanding and the engagement of managers and organizations with the past (Lasewicz, 2015; Suddaby, 2016; Taylor, Bell, & Cooke, 2009).

The focus of this sub-theme is thus to provide new and more encompassing evidence about the enabling and constraining effects of the past for organizational resilience and survival. Researchers are encouraged to submit papers for this sub-theme with theoretical, methodological, and empirical contributions. Our goal is to foster discussions around the influence of the past, present, and future of managerial action on organizational continuity and change.


Anteby, M., & Molnár, V. (2012). Collective Memory Meets Organizational Identity: Remembering to Forget in a Firm’s Rhetorical History. Academy of Management Journal, 55(3), 515-540.

Brunninge, O. (2009). Using history in organizations: How managers make purposeful reference to history in strategy processes. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 22(1), 8-26.

Coraiola, D. M., Foster, W. M., & Suddaby, R. (2015). Varieties of History in Organization Studies. In P. G. McLaren, A. J. Mills & T. G. Weatherbee (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Management & Organizational History (pp. 206-221). New York: Routledge.

David, P. A. (1985). Clio and the Economics of QWERTY. The American Economic Review, 75(2), 332-337.

Foster, W. M., Coraiola, D. M., Suddaby, R., Kroezen, J., & Chandler, D. (Forthcoming). The strategic use of historical narratives: A theoretical framework. Business History.

Greve, H. R., & Rao, H. (2014). History and the present: Institutional legacies in communities of organizations. Research in organizational behavior, 34, 27-41.

Hannan, M. T., & Freeman, J. (1989). Organizational Ecology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Janssen, C. I. (2012). Addressing Corporate Ties to Slavery: Corporate Apologia in a Discourse of Reconciliation. Communication Studies, 63(1), 18-35.

Lasewicz, P. C. (2015). Forget the Past? Or History Matters? Selected Academic Perspectives on the Strategic Value of Organizational Pasts. The American Archivist, 78(1), 59-83.

Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Sillince, J. A. A., & Golant, B. D. (2014). Living up to the past? Ideological sensemaking in organizational transition. Organization, 21(4), 543-567.

Marquis, C. (2003). The Pressure of the Past: Network Imprinting in Intercorporate Communities. Administrative Science Quarterly, 48(4), 655-689.

Mena, S., Rintamäki, J., Fleming, P., & Spicer, A. (2016). On the Forgetting of Corporate Irresponsibility. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), 720-738.

Porter, M. E. (1998). Cluster and the new economics of competition. Harvard Business Review, 76(6), 77-90.

Ravasi, D., & Schultz, M. (2006). Responding to organizational identity threats: Exploring the role of organizational culture. Academy of Management Journal, 49(3), 433-458.

Schrempf-Stirling, J., Palazzo, G., & Phillips, R. (2016). Historic Corporate Social Responsibility. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), 700-719.

Schultz, M., & Hernes, T. (2013). A Temporal Perspective on Organizational Identity. Organization Science, 24(1), 1-21.

Suddaby, R. (2016). Toward a Historical Consciousness: Following the Historic Turn in Management Thought. M@n@gement: Revue officielle de l’Association Internationale de Management Stratégique, 19(1), 46-60.

Suddaby, R., & Foster, W. M. (2016). History and Organizational Change. Journal of Management, 43(1), 19-38.

Suddaby, R., Foster, W. M., & Trank, C. Q. (2010). Rhetorical history as a source of competitive advantage. In J. A. C. Baum & J. Lampel (Eds.), Advances in Strategic Management: The Globalization of Strategy Research (pp. 147-173). Bingley: Emerald.

Suddaby, R., Foster, W. M., & Trank, C. Q. (2016). Re-membering: Rhetorical History as Identity-Work. In M. G. Pratt , M. Schultz, B. E. Ashforth & D. Ravasi (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Identity (pp. 297-316). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sydow, J., & Schreyögg, G. (2013). Self-reinforcing processes in and among organizations. Hampshire: Palgrave.

Taylor, S., Bell, E., & Cooke, B. (2009). Business history and the historiographical operation. Management & Organizational History, 4(2), 151-166.

Teece, D. J., Pisano, G., & Shuen, A. (1997). Dynamic Capabilities and Strategic Management. Strategic Management Journal, 18(7), 509-533.

Ybema, S. (2010). Talk of change: Temporal contrasts and collective identities. Organization Studies, 31(4), 481-503.

Zundel, M., Holt, R., & Popp, A. (2016). Using history in the creation of organizational identity. Management & Organizational History, 1-25.


Note: We thank Maria Del Pilar Acosta Collazos, Sébastien Mena, and William M. Foster for their contribution in developing the proposal for this sub-theme.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s