New Book: The Emergence of Routines (Raff and Scranton)

Business historians Dan Raff and Phil Scranton have published an interesting new edited collection that explores the intersection of business history, business strategy, and entrepreneurship. Published by OUP, The Emergence of Routines includes a series of historical case studies examining the origins of organizational order in firms. The book includes a conceptual introduction and an intriguingly titled concluding chapter on “learning from history” that should be of interest to readers of this blog.

From the OUP Site’s Description:

This book is a collection of essays about the emergence of routines and, more generally, about getting things organized in firms and in industries in early stages and in transition.

These are subjects of the greatest interest to students of entrepreneurship and organizations, as well as to business historians, but the academic literature is thin. The chronological settings of the book’s eleven substantive chapters are historical, reaching as far back as the late 1800s right up to the 1990s, but the issues they raise are evergreen and the historical perspective is exploited to advantage.

The chapters are organized in three broad groups: examining the emergence of order and routines in initiatives, studying the same subject in ongoing operations, and a third focusing specifically on the phenomena of transition. The topics range from the Book-of-the-Month Club to industrial research at Alcoa, from the evolution of procurement and coordination to project-based industries such as bridge- and dam-building and the governance of defence contracting, and from the development of project performance appraisal at the World Bank to the way the global automobile industry collectively redesigned the internal combustion engine to deal with after the advent of environmental regulation. The chapters are vivid and thought-provoking in themselves and, for pedagogical purposes, offer excellent jumping-off points for discussion of relevant experiences and cognate academic literature.

Historical Perspectives on Org Studies: The End of an Era


The final meeting of Standing Working Group 8 (Historical Perspectives on Org Studies) took place at the European Group for Organization Studies Meeting in Naples, Italy this past week. SWG 8 was established by Lars Engwall, Matthias Kipping, and Behlul Usdiken six years ago and has served as an important institutional platform for the discussion and development of work related to historical approaches to management and organizational research over that time. Many of the articles, chapters, and books that have been produced in the last few years were born out of the working group. Though, by EGOS rules, the standing working group has a limited term, the bigger project on the development of historical approaches to organizational research will continue next year at the EGOS meeting in Copenhagen, thanks two new sub themes related to history and organization studies. These are Subtheme 43 (Theorizing the Past, Present, and Future of Organization Theory) and Subtheme 44 (Rethinking History, Rethinking Business Schools).

PhD Courses in Historical Approaches to Business and Management

Kyoto PhD Course

One of the important challenges that Management and Organizational History must face is cultivating the next generation of scholars. There are relatively few established PhD courses that train students in business and management history, and little attention to what constitutes a foundational curriculum in the field.

Last week, I had a chance to test out some ideas for a curriculum when I co-taught a one-week PhD course at Kyoto University with Professor Takafumi Kurosawa. The students included early and mid-stage PhD students from 5 countries. We took a basic introductory orientation to the field. The topics covered: 1. Historiography, 2. Advantages of Historical Conceptualization, 3. Historical Research Processes and Methods, 4. Applications.

Some basic thoughts occurred to us as we taught that I think provide lessons for such efforts in the future. 1. Business, Economic, and Management History tends to engage in relatively little historiographical reflection about the development of historical approaches, and yet it’s crucial to not only the intellectual coherence but also socialization into the field. 2. We tend to place insufficient attention to the historical research process, and particular to the question of why one turns to history at all. But a discussion of the historical research process, and a comparison to research process in other social sciences, is incredibly helpful to students in comprehending and communicating how they are going about their work. 3. Specific examples are worth their weight in gold.

We’d love to hear the experiences of others, and engage in a discussion of how to train PhD students. So, when you get a chance, share your thoughts!

ESRC seminar 3: Narrative Construction of Memory

On December 10, 2015 CBS hosted the ESRC workshop on the Narrative Construction of Memory. The program and pictures are below.


9.00 – 9.30 Welcome & Introduction

9.30 – 10.15 Tor Hernes, Copenhagen Business School: Temporal Trajectory and Organizational Narrative

10.15 – 11.00 Robin Holt, Copenhagen Business School: Memory and Mnemosyne

11.00 – 11.15 Coffee

11.15 – 12.00 Dan Wadhwani, University of the Pacific: Creating Histories without a Past: Uses of History in the Entrepreneurial Processes

12.00 – 13.00 Lunch

13.00 – 14.15 Ronald Kroeze, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam: The Use of History and Narratives by Dutch Top Managers and Companies

14.15 – 14.30 Coffee

14.30 – 15.15 Roy Suddaby, University of Victoria: Rhetorical History and Narrative History

15.15 – 16.00 Per Hansen, Copenhagen Business School: Narratives as the Basis of Memory and History

16.00 – 16:30 Discussion & Conclusion


Beyond the Managerial Utopia of American Schools of Business Administration: Early Emergence of European Management Education in the 18th and 19th centuries

Call for Papers

The 2016 Association pour l’Histoire du Management et des Organisations Conference will hold a special track on the “Emergence of European Management Education in the 18th and 19th centuries.” This special track invites new thinking and empirical findings on 18th and 19th century European management education that both supplement present history and facilitate broader analysis of the interplay with the now dominant US model. In line with the main scientific orientation of the 21st AHMO conference, contributions could, for instance, investigate two main issues:

1) Could 18th-19th century European management education have offered a managerial utopia alternative to the American model?

2) How was early European management education institutionalized? Were there gaps between the ideals presented and the institutionalisation process in practice?

The full call for papers can be found here:

Contributors are expected to submit their papers to the co-organizers: and by January 5th, 2016 and will be notified of acceptance by January 15th, 2016.

The track will be held on March 18th during the 21st JHMO at UTBM Sevenans (Territoire de Belfort), FRANCE.


The Association pour l’Histoire du Management et des Organisations is a French research community that gathers researchers in management, organisations studies, history, sociology and economics. The annual AHMO “Journées” aim to facilitate discussion and to stimulate pluridisciplinary collaborations on the history of management and organizations. The aim of the association is also to promote the integration of history in teaching curricula and to help Ph.D. students for early careers developments.

Making Markets: Histories of Commodity Grading and Trading

On Friday, Caitlin Rosenthal and Espen Storli hosted an interesting workshop on “Making Markets: Histories of Commodity Grading and Trading” at Berkeley. (The description and program can be found here: It seems to me that interest in “grading” and “standards” creation is on the rise at the moment in historical studies of organizations and markets; I can think of a number of historians working on the topic from different angles, including JoAnne Yates and Stephen Mihm.

Management History Membership Committee

The Management History Division of the Academy of Management has established a Membership Committee. The Committee aims to: 1. Recruit new members to the division ; 2. Retain current members by investigating what members find most valuable; 3. Develop programs to introduce doctoral students and early career researchers to the MH Division.

The members of the Committee are listed below. If you’ve got suggestions for us, or would like to be involved in some way please let one of us know. We are particularly keen to hear from you if you are an AoM member but not currently a member of the Management History Division.

MH Membership Committee
Stephanie Decker, co-chair (Aston Business School)
Dan Wadhwani, co-chair (University of the Pacific)
Marcelo Bucheli (University of Illinois)
Gabrielle Durepos (Mount Saint Vincent University)
David Kirsch (University of Maryland)
Christina Lubinski (Copenhagen Business School)
Patricia McLaren (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Natalya Vinakurova (Wharton)