On the 1st of July, the Association of Business Historians (ABH) held the Coleman Prize session which featured four excellent presenters: Ian Jones, Nicolaas Strydom, Jeannette Strickland, and Gaurav Pratap Sud. The eventual winner was Ian Jones with his thesis titled Using the past: Authenticity, reliability, and the role of archives in Barclays plc’s use of the past strategies. Ian’s thesis was completed at the University of Liverpool and he was supervised by Dr Margaret Procter and Dr Andrew Smith and Barclays Group Archivists Maria Sienkiewicz. Ian’s thesis analyses the role of Barclays Group Archives (BGA) in the delivery of Barclays’ strategic objectives, abstract below:
Recent scholarship in organisation studies has begun to address how organisations perceive and use their history. However, how organisations preserve and access their history, and how this affects how they are able to use their history is less researched. This thesis investigates how Barclays Group Archives (BGA) contribute to Barclays plc delivering its strategic objectives. It asks, how does BGA, as a specific unit of the organisation, facilitate the delivery of Barclays plc’s strategic objectives? The researcher was embedded in the archives, enabling the gathering of observational data on how BGA operate as well as a unique level of access to archival organisational records. These were used to target and gain access to Barclays plc employees to conduct interviews to ascertain how they used BGA’s resources and what benefits they felt BGA brought. Using interviews, observation, and other qualitative research methods, this thesis introduces archival science theory to the study of how organisations can benefit from using their history, introducing the archival science ideas of authenticity, reliability, usability, and integrity to inform the research on organisational memory and use of the past strategies.