Management and Organizational History
Call for papers
Special Issue: War and Peace in Organizational Memory
Organizations are known for marking their own centennial, bicentennial and other anniversaries. These celebrations are good opportunities for organizations to reflect on their past. The commissioned corporate history that often stems from these events helps the organization to understand its past. This work can then be used externally to form part of its marketing strategy or internally as a way to firm up its identity (Suddaby, Foster and Quinn Trank 2016). The past and longevity also confers legitimacy upon the organization (Roowaan 2009). Other commemorative dates and remembrance ceremonies are of similar importance. While not the traditional focus of business historians, these dates are nevertheless observed by organizations as they participate in the social process of remembering events. This is especially apparent in the experience of war and, as we have seen more recently, terrorist attacks.
A special Issue of Management and Organizational History will be timed to coincide with 11th November 2018 as the 100th year anniversary of Armistice Day. It will be devoted to the examining the impact that war, as a social and political event, had upon organizational identity. How did organizations understand and rationalize their national, regional, religious or racial identity and behavior in times of conflict? What objects, rituals and ceremonies organizations initiate to remember and commemorate the lives lost in war – if at all? To what extent were memorials or commemorations specific to organisations themselves, albeit embedded within wider systems of meaning? How does the end of conflict and peace time change these gestures or attitudes towards other nations or groups? We welcome empirical and theoretical papers that consider case studies or adopt long run historical analysis as well as encouraging the submission of work that utilizes new approaches to concepts of memory. Papers that examine the influence of World War I would be pertinent contributions to the issue but it is not confined to focusing on this war alone. Submissions that consider other wars or conflicts, such as the Hundred Years War, Wars of Independence, Civil Wars, Napoleonic War, World War II, the Cold War, would be relevant and we invite papers from all periods and geographical zones.
Since the ‘historic turn’, a shift has begun to take place in the study of organizational change whereby business historians and historical analysis more generally has taken a greater role. Using history in forming organizational identity often involves sense-making by companies (Ravasi and Schultz, 2006). Recent research has included analysis of ceremonies, rituals and objects. Rituals, as historic events, contain rich levels of symbolism and follow a set of established conventions (Dacin et al., 2010). Objects, such as ornaments, portraits, other paraphernalia and even architecture or museums, exist as a manifestation of a collective memory, a historical record of the organization’s past (Decker 2014; Suddaby, Foster and Quinn Trank 2016, Barnes and Newton, 2017). They serve as ‘talking points’ or a ‘show and tell’ to explain organizational culture, an event or the meaning of an act which has taken place (Ames, 1980; Rafaeli and Pratt, 1993). Textual and oral memory forms can be used as memory cues, which enable those in the present to construct organizational identity that complies with current and future requirements (Schultz and Hernes 2013, 4). While the past can be used and manipulated, it is not always controlled by those with power at the top of the hierarchy (Rowlinson and Hassard 1993; Maclean et al. 2014).
There is a wealth of literature on the memorialization of war at the individual, national, European and international level. Mosse examines the commemoration of soldiers after war, and the role this has in turning war into a sacred event (1990). The role that remembering of war has in creating both national and European identities is considered by Niznik (2013) and its role in influencing post-war European politics is analyzed by Muller (2002). Others consider an international perspective (Sumartojo and Wellings, 2014), whilst the role of museums in remembering war is considered by Williams (2007) and Kjeldbaek (2009). Yet less has been written about how organizations remember war and how such remembering (or forgetting) influences their identify.
This call for papers invites potential contributions from those that employ innovative methodologies to examine individuals, groups or organizations and their experience of war.
Potential topics might include:
- Corporate acts, events, rituals or memorials that remember the war and lives lost
- Decisions not to mark or otherwise commemorate war and/or conflict
- War reparations and other related acts
- The organization’s narrative of its involvement in the war
- The disruptive atmosphere of war and crisis management on staff
- The impact of war or peace on the organization’s national, regional, religious or racial identity
- Approach of multinational firms to this issue and uniformity or difference in subsidiary organisations
- Remembering as a means of connecting with local stakeholders, such as customers and the general public
- Debates about retaining war memorials and the issues with existing stakeholders
Process and timeline
Those interested in potentially contributing should contact the two guest editors at the earliest opportunity:
Victoria Barnes: Barnes@rg.mpg.de
Lucy Newton: L.A.Newton@henley.ac.uk
A paper development workshop will be held in Henley Business School, University of Reading in December 2017.
Manuscripts are to be submitted to Management and Organization History in the normal way. Authors should make it clear that the paper is intended to be part of the Special Issue.
The deadline for submission of papers for the Special Issue is February 28th 2018 with an aim to get final versions accepted by September 2018 for publication.
The Special Issue is timed to coincide with Armistice Day and will appear in November 2018 (Vol. 13, No. 4).
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Dacin, M.T., Munir, K., Tracey, P., 2010. Formal Dining at Cambridge Colleges: Linking Ritual Performance and Institutional Maintenance. Acad. Manage. J. 53, 1393–1418. doi:10.5465/AMJ.2010.57318388
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Suddaby, Roy, William M. Foster, and Chris Quinn Trank. 2016. ‘Re-Membering: rhetorical history as identity work’. In The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Theory and Behaviour, edited by Michael G. Pratt, Majken Schultz, Blake E. Ashforth and David Ravasi. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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