Some Christmas reading

Before we take a break for the holidays, I thought I share some potential Christmas reading with you. I am proud to announce that Business History published advance online a new Perspectives Article that I had the pleasure to edit:

History in corporate social responsibility: Reviewing and setting an agenda
Christian Stutz
Pages: 1-30 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2018.1543661

 

This piece reviews and evaluates both the research on history by CSR scholars, and the historical research on CSR issues (mostly by business historians) and draws a number of important issues. Its a great piece and it makes some important observations about the future opportunities for research in the field.

Here is the abstract:

The integration of historical reasoning and corporate social responsibility (CSR) theorising has recently received remarkable cross-disciplinary attention by business historians and CSR scholars. But has there been a meaningful interdisciplinary conversation? Motivated by this question that presumes significant limitations in the current integration, I survey existing research for the purpose of sketching and shaping historical CSR studies, ie an umbrella that brings together diverse approaches to history and CSR theorising. Drawing from the recent efforts to establish historical methodologies in organisation studies, I first reconcile discrepant disciplinary and field-level traditions to create a meaningful intellectual space for both camps. Secondly, I provide a synthesis of the history of CSR from three different meta-theoretical perspectives in the context of three maturing knowledge clusters. To bridge past and future work, I finally set a research agenda arising from current research and drawing on different sets of assumptions about history and CSR.

Happy holidays and see you bright and fresh in the New Year!
Stephanie

Workshop: Using History, Valuing Archives

Using History, Valuing Archives

Date of event: 28 February 2019
Event ends: 1 March 2019
Start time: 11:00
End time: 14:00

Using History, Valuing Archives

A workshop organised by the Centre for International Business History, and the Heritage and Creativity Institute for Collections

The question of how business organisations make use of their history has increasingly come to occupy the attention of organisational theorists and historians (Suddaby et al, 2010; Poor et al, 2016; Zundel et al, 2016; Foster, 2017; Smith and Simeone, 2017; Hatch and Schultz, 2017). Each firm’s history is unique to itself. As such, it can be classified as rare and inimitable. Provided historical records are appropriately stored and managed within an archive, then it can also be said to be organised. In such cases we can reasonably claim that a firm’s history meets three of the four elements identified by Barney (1991) as constituting a strategic resource. The only question that remains is whether it is deemed to be valuable.

Judging by the number of companies that have chosen to invest in constructing and publicising historical narratives about themselves, it would appear that for many executives the answer to this question is: yes. By ‘investment’, here, we are talking about more than the commissioning of corporate histories destined to take pride of place on the C-Suite coffee table. Increasingly it means the construction corporate museums, or visitor centres with historical collections (Stigliani and Ravassi, 2007). It is often manifested in the public celebration of notable company anniversaries or, more durably, in the incorporation of historical images and artefacts into the interior design of company head offices (Barnes and Newton, 2018). More conspicuously, it can involve mobilising historical narratives, characters or events to serve wider branding, advertising or public relations purposes (Lubinski, 2018).

The tendency to view history as a malleable strategic resource that can support wider corporate goals may be on the rise, but what does this mean for business archives themselves, the archivists who work in them, and the academic researchers who rely on them? There would clearly seem to be an opportunity here for archivists to demonstrate their strategic importance to their employers, and for historians to develop research projects that might be seen to deliver ‘impact’. But are there also reasons to be cautious? What are the implications of viewing history (and historical collections) as a strategic resource for the way in which archives are valued (and maintained)? Does it affect the types of materials that are likely to be preserved (or discarded)? Will it affect corporate policies regarding access to, and use of, historical records by non-company personnel – such as academic researchers?

This workshop brings together professional business archivists and historians to explore these questions. What does the future hold for the way in which companies use their past? If the strategic value of business archives is indeed to be increasingly recognised and utilised, what does this mean for the practices of archivists and historians, and for the conception of a business archive as a quasi-public resource?

Questions and issues to be addressed:

– The different ways in which organizations make use of their own archives / historical records (e.g. for internal and external purposes);

– Attempts to measure / quantify the value of historical resources (either in financial terms or some other way);

– The balance between ‘authenticity’ and ‘corporate strategy’ when constructing historical narratives (should/does the history follow from the strategy, or vice versa);

– The tension, if it exists, between a firm’s willingness to recognise the strategic or commercial value of its historical records, and its willingness to make such records available for public (including academic) scrutiny;

– The management and use of archival records that are held outside of their ‘parent’ organization, i.e. where management of a firm’s historical resources are outsourced;

– The preservation / management of company archives after a firm has ceased to exist.

 References

Barnes, V. and Newton, L. (2018), ‘Visualising organizational identity: the history of a capitalist enterprise’, Management and Organizational History, 13 (1), pp. 24-53.

Barney, J. (1991), ‘Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage’, Journal of Management, 17 (1), 99-120.

Foster, W.M., Coraiola, D.M., Suddaby, R., Kroezen, J, and Chandler, D. (2017), ‘The strategic use of historical narratives: a theoretical framework’, Business History, 59 (8), pp. 1176-1200.

Hatch, M. and Schultz, M. (2017), ‘Toward a theory of using history authentically: historicising in the Carlsberg Group’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 62 (4), pp. 657-697.

Lubinski, C. (2018), ‘From “history as told” to “history as experienced”: contextualizing the uses of the past’, Organization Studies, published online November 2018. DOI: 10.1177/0170840618800116

Poor, S., Novicevic, M., Humphreys, J.H. and Popoola, I.T.(2016), ‘Making history happen: a genealogical analysis of Colt’s rhetorical history’, Management and Organizational History, 11 (2), pp. 147-165.

Smith, A. and Simeone, D. (2017), ‘Learning to use the past: the development of a rhetorical history strategy by the London headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company’, Management and Organizational History, 12 (4), pp. 334-356.

Stigliani, I. and Ravassi, D. (2007), ‘Organizational artefacts and the expression of identity in corporate museums at Alfa-Romeo, Kartell, and Piaggio’. In L. Lin, D. Ravassi, J. Rekom and G. Soenen (eds.) Organizational Identity in Practice, New York: Routledge, pp. 197-214.

Suddaby, R., Foster, W.M., Trank, C.Q.(2010), ‘Rhetorical history as a source of competitive advantage’, Advances in Strategic Management, 27, pp. 147-73.

Zundel, M., Holt, R. and Popp, A. (2016), ‘Using history in the creation of organizational identity’, Management and Organizational History, 11 (2), pp. 211-235.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact Daria Radwan by email at d.m.radwan@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 6597.

https://www.henley.ac.uk/events/using-history-valuing-archives-1

 

BAM2019 – MBH track

BAM2019 Conference

3rd – 5th September 2019
Aston University, Birmingham, UK
Track 14: Management and Business History

Track Chairs:
– Kevin Tennent, University of York kevin.tennent@york.ac.uk
– Roy Edwards, University of Southampton r.a.edwards@soton.ac.uk

Track description:
This track aims to encourage the growing number of management and business historians who work in business schools and social science departments to engage in constructive debate with a wide
range of management scholars. The 2019 conference theme, ‘Building and Sustaining High Performance Organisations During Uncertain Times: Challenges and Opportunities’, is an ideal
opportunity to explore the value of historical study for management research. Histories of organizations, industries and institutions give us the opportunity to understand how managers have built through uncertain and challenging times in the past, whether it be through war, economic crisis, scandal or other disruptions to their activities. Inspired by Fayol, Ford and Taylor, managers also attempted to boost productivity, often with mixed results. In this track we specialize in
chronologically or longitudinally motivated research. We welcome papers, symposia or workshop proposals either using new and innovative methodologies or applying archival methodology to a
new disciplinary context. We are also interested in context specific papers using more traditional historical methodology but which take innovative approaches to relate their findings to wider social
science concerns. In addition, we appreciate papers dealing with the legacy of uncertainty in the past in business and management more generally, and how it has influenced the diversity of
experience in present day businesses, regions and communities.
This year we encourage cross-disciplinary papers and workshop submissions that link different Tracks, while the main conference theme ought to feature prominently in all submissions. As a group
we are inherently multi-disciplinary and believe in the application of theory to historical analysis, and there is no single epistemology for approaching this. We aim to encourage theoretically orientated
social science history with a clear relationship to present day debates in the management discipline.
Contributions might focus on but are not limited to: the economic or social history of business, historical case studies for theory building, theoretical contributions on the relevance of history to
management studies, the uses of history, history as a method for management studies.

Please note that while we are open-minded work not featuring a historical dimension, broadly defined, will not be accepted.

This editorial may be a useful provocation:

  • Tennent, K.D., 2018. Guest editorial. Journal of Management History, 24(2), pp.122-127.

Some theoretical and empirical examples of the genre of work that we seek to welcome include:

  • Cummings, S. and Bridgman, T., 2011. The relevant past: Why the history of management should be critical for our future. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(1), pp.77-93.
  • Edwards, R., 2010. Job analysis on the LMS: mechanisation and modernisation c. 1930–c. 1939. Accounting, Business & Financial History, 20(1), pp.91-105.
  • Gillett, A. G., and Tennent, K. D., 2017. Dynamic Sublimes, Changing Plans, and the Legacy of a Megaproject: The case of the 1966 Soccer World Cup. Project Management Journal. 48(6), pp. 93- 16.
  • Gillett, A.G. and Tennent, K.D., 2018. Shadow hybridity and the institutional logic of professional sport: Perpetuating a sporting business in times of rapid social and economic change. Journal of Management History, 24(2), pp.228-259.
  • Maclean, M., Harvey, C. and Clegg, S.R., 2016. Conceptualizing historical organization studies. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), pp.609-632.
  • Mollan, S. and Tennent, K.D., 2015. International taxation and corporate strategy: evidence from British overseas business, circa 1900–1965. Business History, 57(7), pp.1054-1081.

ToC: BH 60(7) SI on New perspectives on 20th Century European retailing

Business History, Volume 60, Issue 7, October 2018 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

New perspectives on 20th Century European retailing

 

Introductions

New perspectives on 20th-century European retailing
Peter Scott & Patrick Fridenson
Pages: 941-958 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2018.1494943

Managing business performance: The contrasting cases of two multiple retailers 1920 to 1939
Andrew Hull
Pages: 959-982 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2018.1459251

More than window dressing: visual merchandising and austerity in London’s West End, 1945–50
Bethan Bide
Pages: 983-1003 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1400531

Turning regulation into business opportunities: A brief history of French food mass retailing (1949–2015)
Adam Dewitte, Sebastian Billows & Xavier Lecocq
Pages: 1004-1025 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1384465

The state, small shops and hypermarkets: A public policy for retail, France, 1945–1973
Tristan Jacques
Pages: 1026-1048 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1413092

Unlocking the padlock: Retail and public policy in Belgium (1930–1961)
Peter Heyrman
Pages: 1049-1081 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2017.1319940

Resistance to Inequality as a Competitive Strategy? – The Cases of the Finnish consumer Co-ops Elanto and HOK 1905–2015
Anitra Komulainen & Sakari Siltala
Pages: 1082-1104 | DOI: 10.1080/00076791.2018.1494729