Academy of Management Learning and Education
New Histories of Business Schools and How They May Inspire New Futures
Initial submissions should be received by: March 31, 2020
Scheduled for Publication: June 2021
- Patricia Genoe McLaren, Wilfrid Laurier University
- JC Spender, Kozminski University
- Stephen Cummings, Victoria University of Wellington
- Todd Bridgman, Victoria University of Wellington
- Ellen O’Connor, Dominican University of California
- Christina Lubinski, Copenhagen Business School
- Gabrielle Durepos, Mount Saint Vincent University (Canada)
We might do well to re-examine what we are doing and show the executive judgment and courage necessary to implement radical change (Khurana & Spender 2012: 636).
The conventional history of business education tends to follow the emergence of American business schools: from the founding of the Wharton School in 1881, to the rapid growth of business school enrollment within American universities leading up to the 1950s, to the standardization of the schools after the publication of the Gordon-Howell and Pierson reports in 1959 (Hommel & Thomas, 2014). This history has been crafted over many years and now goes largely unchallenged. But it begs the questions: why is this the story we tell, who gains and who loses from its telling, and what events and people are missing from a narrative that should be inspirational for a broad range of people?
“improve” (Bossard & Dewhurst, 1931; Gordon & Howell, 1959; Pierson, 1959; Porter & McKibbin, 1988), and also with a more complex analysis of context, history, power, and influence (Engwall, Kipping, Usdiken, 2016; Khurana, 2007; Pettigrew, Corneul, & Hommel, 2014). Work has been done on the history of European management education (cf. Engwall, 2004; Harker, Caemmerer, & Hynes, 2016; Kieser, 2004; Kipping, Usdiken, & Puig, 2004; Tiratsoo, 2004; Usdiken, 2004), and some have looked at the global South (Cooke & Alcadipani, 2015). We are beginning to see alternative histories of the development of management theory and education (Bridgman, Cummings, & McLaughlin, 2016; Dye, Mills, & Weatherbee, 2005; Hassard, 2012; Peltonen, 2015). However, what about histories of schools of business and commerce from other parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Australasia, South America) in more detail? Or from earlier centuries? Or different examples from North America or Europe that did not survive or later morphed toward the standard form?
Better historical scholarship could, therefore, help us to change ourselves. To engage historical sensibilities and methods, and empirical richness, to push theory and change institutions. As a call for spurring this process we welcome contributions that address the following questions:
- What people, events, curriculum, pedagogy, form, and research of business schools’ past have been overlooked by conventional historical narratives?
- What role could new histories play in debates about how business schools should develop? Can new understandings of the past inspire us to think differently for the future?
- How can we write reflexive or critical histories of business schools that expose the power and politics of business education and what we teach, or do not teach, students?
- Are histories being used within business schools or other organizations, such as accreditation bodies, academies and societies, to perpetuate traditional structures and/or norms? Why and to what effect?
- What are the ‘invented traditions’ that support any or all aspects of the institution of business schools and what purpose were they invented to serve?
- What are the stories of the development of business education outside of North America or prior to the late 19th century? Are these different or the same as the current narrative? How, why, and what can we learn from these alternative histories?
- How has history traditionally been taught in business schools? What are the positive and limiting effects of this pedagogy? How could we teach history differently?
- Why should business school students learn more (or less) history? Or learn it differently?
- How might management scholars using history in their research influence business education?
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