British Academy of Management
Management and Business History Track
- James Fowler, University of Essex James.Fowler@essex.ac.uk
- Roy Edwards, University of Southampton email@example.com
This track encourages 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 2022 conference theme, ‘Reimagining business and management as a force for good’ offers ample opportunity to explore the value of historical study for current management.
In this track we specialize in chronologically or longitudinally motivated research. Histories of organizations, industries and institutions give us the opportunity to understand how managers have dealt with reinventing themselves in the past. History is replete with makeovers. We would welcome papers that explore how businesses and managers have responded to the requirement to change themselves, change the narrative about themselves, or both. How did this happen, and how successful was it? History allows us to both challenge and develop theory by exploring its explanatory power in relation to real events where the outcomes are already known.
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 including the diversity of experience in present day businesses, regions and communities. While the main conference theme ought to feature prominently in all submissions, we encourage cross-disciplinary papers and workshop submissions that link different Tracks.
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, and history as a method for management studies. Please note though that while we are open-minded, work without a historical dimension will not be accepted.
This article is a useful initial point of reference:
Tennent, K. (2020). Management and business history – a reflexive research agenda for the 2020s. Journal of Management History. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-09-2020-0061.
These articles offer commentary on the ‘dual integrity’ of business history methods as a combination of social science and historical craft:
Decker, S., Usidken, B., Engwall, L. & Rowlinson, M. (2018). Special issue introduction: Historical research on institutional change. Business History, 60(5). pp613-627. https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2018.1427736
Maclean, M., Harvey, C. and Clegg, S.R., (2016). Conceptualizing historical organization studies. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), pp.609-632. DOI: 10.5465/amr.2014.0133
Rowlinson, M., Hassard, J. & Decker, S. (2014). Research Strategies for Organisational History: A Dialogue between Historical Theory and Organisation Theory. Academy of Management Review, 39(3), pp250–274. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2012.0203
Some theoretical and empirical examples of the genre of work that we seek to welcome include:
Fowler, J., & Gillett, A. (2021) Making a hybrid out of a crisis: historical contingency and the institutional logics of London’s public transport monopoly, Journal of Management History, ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-01-2021-0003
Gandy, A., & Edwards, R. (2017). Enterprise logic vs product logic: the development of GE’s computer product line, Business History, 59(3), pp431-452. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2018.1462796
Gillett, A. & Tennent, K. (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. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-11-2017-0060
Hamilton, S. (2016). Revisiting the History of Agribusiness, Business History Review, 90(3), pp541-545. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S000768051600074X
Hollow, M. (2014) ‘Strategic Inertia, Financial Fragility and Organizational Failure: The Case of the Birkbeck Bank, 1870–1911’, Business History, 56(5), pp. 746–64. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2013.839660
Lane, J. (2019) Secrets for Sale? Innovation and the Nature of Knowledge in an Early Industrial District: The Potteries, 1750–1851, Enterprise and Society, 20(4), pp861-906. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/eso.2019.8
Maclean, M., Shaw, G., Harvey, C. and Booth, A., (2020). Management learning in historical perspective: Rediscovering Rowntree and the British interwar management movement. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 19(1), pp.1-20. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2018.0301
Mollan, S. & Tennent, K. (2015). International taxation and corporate strategy: evidence from British overseas business, circa 1900–1965. Business History, 57(7), pp.1054-1081. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2014.999671
Tennent, K., Gillett, A. and Foster, W., 2020. Developing historical consciousness in management learners. Management Learning, 51(1), pp.73-88. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507619869669