AMLE SI: New Histories of Business Schools and How They May Inspire New Futures

Guest Editors:

  • Patricia Genoe McLaren, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • JC Spender, Kozminski University
  • Stephen Cummings, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Ellen O’Connor, Dominican University of California
  • Todd Bridgman, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Christina Lubinski, Copenhagen Business School
  • Gabrielle Durepos, Mount Saint Vincent University

Deadline for Submissions: March 31, 2020

Potential Publication: June 2021

See!.aspx for more information and resources!

Call for Papers

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). Business schools are the institutional locus of management learning and education. In recent years, we have gained a greater understanding of how their structures, processes, and power dynamics influence pedagogy and curricula, management theory and research, faculty, students, graduates and society more broadly. We are also witnessing growing research into, and discussion about, the relative lack of innovation in management theory development, research, pedagogy, and curricula (Alvesson & Sandberg, 2012).

While there have been a small number of inspirational works that have sought to push us towards changing business schools (Augier and March, 2011; Hassard, 2012; Khurana 2007; Spender, 2016), they have not yet spurred the change we might have hoped for. One under-explored route to encourage innovation in this regard is examining how our historical understanding of the formation and form of the business school may be limiting change. Histories highlight particular characters and plots but what we do not include, or write out of, history, is just as important as what is written in (Jenkins, 2003). History is constitutive, in that our own interpretations of the past define and shape our present and our future (Wadhwani & Bucheli, 2014). Compared with other stochastic fields of study, histories of management and business are simplistically linear and monocultural. This constrains how we see them in the present, and can subsequently limit their future development (Cummings & Bridgman, 2016).

The conventional history of the business school 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 enrolment 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 loses from its telling, and what events and people are missing from a narrative that should be inspirational for a broad range of people?

North American business schools have been studied at various points in a straightforward assessment style – what are they do, how could they “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 also 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? This special issue seeks to move things forward by looking differently when we look back. It encourages submissions that explore emerging interests, historical barriers to change, and their interrelationships by focusing on the emergence and development of business schools as complex entities that are interwoven with universities, the business community, government, and civil society.

It also seeks submissions that explore how these broader understandings may stimulate innovation in the way we configure business schools and, consequently, how we teach, conduct research, view our profession, and relate to our stakeholders. In this call for papers, we – professors/educators, researchers/inquirers, sufferers/critics, and aspirational as well as actual change agents – are the organizational actors, and business schools are our reflective historical setting; more importantly, they are our actual environment. We have a unique opportunity to push management theory, research methods, and interdisciplinarity to better understand and, more importantly, to reinvent business school(s) in light of what is socially or personally meaningful. We have contextual richness, personal and professional stakes, and a sense of crisis. Being able to change our practices from within, we are uniquely situated to bring scholarship, formal positioning, and inhabited experience to bear. 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:

1. What people and events of business schools’ past have been overlooked by conventional historical narratives?

2. 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?

3. 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?

4. 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?

5. What are the ‘invented traditions’ that support the institution of business schools and what purpose were they invented to serve?

6. 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 current norms? How, why, and what can we learn from these alternative histories?

7. 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?

8. Why should business school students learn more (or less) history? Or learn it differently?


Alvesson, M,. & Sandberg, J. 2012. Has management studies lost its way? Ideas for more imaginative and innovative research. Journal of Management Studies, 50(1): 128-152.

Augier, M. and March, J. 2011. The roots, rituals, and rhipping etorics of change: North American business schools after the second World War. Stanford University Press.

Bossard, J. H. S., & Dewhurst, J. F. 1931. University education for business: A study of existing needs and practices. Philadelphia. PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Bridgman, T., Cummings, S., & McLaughlin, C. 2016. Restating the case: How revisiting the development of the case method can help us think differently about the future of the business school. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(4): 724-741.

Cooke, B., & Alcadipani, R. 2015. Toward a global history of management education: The case of the Ford Foundation and the São Paulo School of Business Administration, Brazil. Academy of Management Learning & Education,14(4): 482-499.

Cummings, S. & Bridgman, T. 2016. The Limits and possibilities of history: How a wider, deeper and more engaged understanding of business history can foster innovative thinking. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 15(2): 250-267.

Dye, K., Mills, A. J., & Weatherbee, T. 2005. Maslow: Man interrupted: Reading management theory in context. Management Decision, 43(10): 1375-1395.

Engwall, L. 2004. The Americanization of Nordic management education. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 109- 117.

Engwall, L., Kipping, M., & Usdiken, B. 2016. Defining management: Business schools, consultants, media. New York: Routledge.

Gordon, R. A., & Howell, J. E. 1959. Higher education for business. New York: Columbia University Press.

Harker, M. J., Caemmerer, B., & Hynes, N. 2016. Management education by the French Grandes Ecoles de Commerce: Past, present, and an uncertain future. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(3): 549-568.

Hassard, J. 2012. Rethinking the Hawthorne Studies: The Western Electric research in its social, political and historical context. Human Relations, 65(11): 1431-1461.

Hommel, U., & Thomas, H. 2014. Research on business schools. In A. M. Pettigrew, E. Corneul, & U. Hommel (Eds.), The institutional development of business schools: 8-36. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, K. 2003. Refiguring history: New thoughts on an old discipline. London, U.K.: Routledge.

Khurana, R. 2007. From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Khurana, R., & Spender, J. C. 2012. Herbert A. Simon on What Ails Business Schools: More than ‘A Problem in Organizational Design’. Journal of Management Studies, 49: 619–639.

Kieser, A. 2004. The Americanization of academic management education in Germany. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 90-97.

Kipping, M., Usdiken, B., & Puig, N. 2004. Imitation, tension, and hybridization: Multiple “Americanizations” of management education in Mediterranean Europe. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 98-108.

Peltonen, T. 2015. History of management thought in context: The case of Elton Mayo in Australia. In P. G. McLaren, A. J. Mills, & T. G. Weatherbee (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Management and Organizational History. Abindon, UK: Sage.

Pettigrew, A. M., Corneul, E., & Hommel, U. 2014. The institutional development of business schools. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pierson, F. C. 1959. The education of American business men: A study in university-college programs in business administration. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Porter, L. W., & McKibbin, L. E. 1988. Management education and development: Drift or thrust into the 21st century? New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Spender, J.C. 2016. How management education’s past shapes its present. BizEd. Tiratsoo, N. 2004. The “Americanization” of management education in Britain. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 118-126.

Usdiken, B. 2004. Americanization of European management education in historical and comparative perspective. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 87-89.

Wadhwani, D., & Bucheli, M. 2014. The future of the past in management and organization studies. In D. Wadhwani, & M. Bucheli (Eds.), Organizations in Time: History, Theory, Methods. New York: Oxford University Press.

New Paper on How Firms Use History

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

New Paper on How Firms Use History

Paresha N. Sinha, Peter Jaskiewicz, Jenny Gibb, and James G. Combs. “Managing history: How New Zealand’s Gallagher Group used rhetorical narratives to reprioritize and modify imprinted strategic guideposts.” Strategic Management Journal.

Research Summary
Imprinting theory predicts that organizations are imprinted with multiple intersecting imprints that persist. Evidence suggests, however, that imprints are sometimes reprioritized or modified, implying that they can be strategically managed. We draw upon rhetorical history research and an in‐depth historical case study of New Zealand’s Gallagher Group to describe how one firm managed its imprints. Our inductive theorizing links historically imprinted strategic guideposts to decision‐making via two rearranging processes—that is, prioritizing and suspending—wherein managers use narratives to rearrange guideposts’ influence and two scope modifying processes—that is, constraining and expanding—wherein managers change where guideposts apply. As a first explanation of how imprints are managed, these processes add nuance to existing theory and open new research avenues regarding additional processes and boundary conditions.

Managerial Summary
Imprints are elements of culture, strategy, structure, or decision‐making that emerge when the firm is founded or during times of turmoil. Imprints resist change and make organizational adaptation difficult. This study explains one way that managers manipulate imprinted decision‐making rules so that organizations can adapt. Using an in‐depth historical case study of New Zealand’s Gallagher Group from 1938 to 2015, we follow four imprinted decision‐making rules that we call strategic guideposts and show how managers rhetorically revised these rules to adapt organizational decision‐making to changing environments. Managers prioritized some decision‐making rules while deemphasizing others or they changed their claims about the kinds of decisions where a decision‐rule applied. Knowing these rhetorical processes can help managers leverage their organization’s history to facilitate necessary organizational change.

You can access the paper here. You can download the supporting documentation here.

Blog on new research project Cooling for Life Sub-Saharan Africa

This week my co-investigator and I are launching new blog for our research project on solar driven cold stores employing adsorption cooling technology in Rwanda. Historically, the low penetration of electricity has limited economic development because food chains and small-scale subsistence entrepreneurs did not have access to reliable cool chains. Having researched the provision of electricity in Ghana as part of the Volta River Project, it is clear that access to electricity, which is much lower in sub-Saharan African countries than elsewhere (under 30% of population have access), is a key constraint.

So I was really pleased to start talking to one of my colleagues at Aston from engineering, Dr Ahmed Rezk, who wanted to start a project with colleagues in Rwanda on providing off-grid reliable refrigeration for the agro-processing industry. Solar power is obviously plentiful in Africa, but photovoltaic panels actually become less efficient with greater heat. The technology Ahmed proposes is based largely on solar heat (for us less technically versed, think heat pumps running supermarket fridges) which is can be reliably and efficiently exploited in tropical countries.

And in another analogy to the history of development, technologies such as these are not as developed because the creators of technology and products are in countries where the climate makes this a less efficient solutions, while the potential consumers of such technology are in countries with limited technological and manufacturing capacity.

So the other side of our project, which I lead, will look at how we can design business models that will make this new technology user-friendly and affordable to consumers in Africa. Agro-processing is an important area for African countries with a large agricultural sector, for two reasons: it allows exporting and upgrading to other types of products (juices, wines etc.) and it creates more resilient food chains with less spoilage, hence more and better food available locally.

The unparalleled success of mobile phones, micro-finance and bottom of pyramid approaches to expand across sub-Saharan Africa demonstrates that the right business models can lead to significant changes in terms of the products and infrastructure available to producers and consumers. We will blog about our aims and progress at Cooling for life. Any comments or suggestion are very welcome!

EGOS 2020 Hamburg Call for Short Papers

“Call for Short Papers” for the sub-themes at the upcoming 36th EGOS Colloquium in Hamburg, Germany, July 2-4, 2020.

To view the Call for each sub-theme, please go to the EGOS website.

DEADLINE for submission of short papers:

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 23:59 Central European Time (CET)

Like this year, there are a lot of opportunities to submit historical and retrospective research to EGOS – see for example the following tracks:

Convenors: David Chandler, Majken Schultz, Roy Suddaby
Convenors: Christopher Marquis, Georg Schreyögg, Jörg Sydow
Convenors: Hugh Gunz, Nathalie Louisgrand, Wolfgang Mayrhofer

Further helpful information:

Please follow the instructions given in the “Guidelines and criteria for the submission of short papers at EGOS Colloquia”:

Please take note of “Short Paper Submission: Important Information” at:

GDPR & Historical Archives Workshop

Archival workshop

eabh in cooperation with the European Central Bank

23 March 2020
European Central Bank
Sonnemannstrasse 20
Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Call for papers

This workshop aims to look at the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on historical archives, in particular, but not exclusively, in the financial sector. Since May 2018, the GDPR has set common standards of data protection within the European Union and, to a certain extent, beyond. This regulation received critical acclaim by the public and scholars alike, however, not without facing widespread criticism for the severity of the changes it requires. Without a doubt, it has been successful in getting the topic of data protection on the political agenda as well in the public and business sphere. The ever-increasing collection of digital data has required common actions to limit the usage of personal data.

To read the full call, click here

BoJo’s uses of the past

Reblogged from the Conversation:

How Boris Johnson draws on the past to rule in the present – with a little help from myth

Angus Nicholls, Queen Mary University of London

Those struggling to understand how Boris Johnson helped win the 2016 Brexit referendum before becoming prime minister should consider how myth functions in politics.

Throughout his career, Johnson has deployed a type of myth referred to by the philosopher Hans Blumenberg as “prefiguration”: relating emotionally charged events from a country’s past to issues in its present.

Blumenberg was born in 1920 to a Catholic father and a German Jewish mother. Because of this background, he was banned by the Nazis from studying at German universities. After the war, despite this persecution, he became one of Germany’s most prominent philosophers.

In 1979, Blumenberg published a book entitled Work on Myth, in which he claims that myths provide humans with a way of coping with anxieties arising from their environments. Confronted by threats such as thunder and lightning, for example, humans gave these forces names and personalities, making them familiar and approachable.

Myth is seen by Blumenberg as helping humans to orient themselves in threatening surroundings. It is not the opposite of reason, as many thinkers of the Enlightenment argued, but serves the pragmatic function of making humans feel at home in the world. It therefore needs to be taken seriously.

The stories we tell

When Blumenberg’s book appeared in 1979, some reviewers saw it as offering a curiously positive view of myth, which allegedly failed to examine the role played by myth in Nazi politics.

But in 2012, I discovered a letter to Blumenberg written by one of those reviewers. In reply, Blumenberg mentioned that Work on Myth was “missing a chapter that was already present in the manuscript, but which completely and utterly spoiled my taste for the book. I held it back. After I am gone, one may do with it what one wants.”

I found that missing chapter, entitled “Prefiguration”, in the German Literary Archive. Its publication in German in 2014, co-edited by Felix Heidenreich and me, revealed Blumenberg to be a theorist who helps us to understand political myth, and I also analysed these ideas in my recent book on Blumenberg.

As the literary critic Erich Auerbach shows in his essay Figura, the term prefiguration comes from Biblical scholarship, and refers to how events or characters in the Old Testament may prefigure those in the New. In 1 Corinthians 15:22, for example, Adam in the Old Testament is seen to prefigure Christ in the New. When seen in retrospect, the first figure seems to anticipate and legitimise the second.

Read more: Soft Brexit is more likely than ever, thanks to Boris Johnson’s new hardline cabinet – here’s why

On a more basic level, prefiguration aids orientation by providing a precedent from the past that seems to reduce the complexity of the present. One of Blumenberg’s examples comes from the Yom Kippur War of 1973. When deciding when to invade Israel, the Egyptian and Syrian armies are said to have chosen the tenth day of Ramadan, not only because it coincided with the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, but also due to Muhammad having begun his preparations for the Battle of Badr on this day in the year 624. Here prefiguration invokes a mythic sense of repetition: the date of an important battle in the history of Islam was seen as auspicious.

Nazi Germany drew on myth, to ruinous effect. Shutterstock

For Blumenberg, prefiguration lends mythical legitimacy to decisions that lack rational justification. Hitler’s ruinous comparisons between himself and figures such as Frederick the Great and Napoleon are the central case study used by Blumenberg to illustrate this theory.

How Boris deploys it

Johnson understands prefiguration. He knows the most significant episode in recent British history is victory over Germany in World War II, and that its “sacred” protagonist is Winston Churchill. Johnson’s Churchill biography of 2014 is a study in prefiguration, in which he presents himself as the heir to Churchill’s legacy. In it, Johnson wrote that among Churchill’s many sayings “a text will be found to … validate some course of action – and that text will be brandished in a semi-religious way, as though the project had been posthumously hallowed by Churchill the sage and wartime leader.”

During the Brexit campaign, Johnson made precisely this rhetorical move. The European Union, he wrote in the Telegraph newspaper in May 2016, is an attempt to create a European superstate “just as Hitler did”. By contrast, Churchill’s “vision for Britain was not subsumed within a European superstate”.

These irresponsible comparisons between the EU and Nazi Germany were criticised at the time, even by some of Johnson’s fellow Tories. But the message cut through. Rational arguments for remaining in the EU were trounced by the campaign to “Take Back Control”. When combined with Johnson’s references to Churchill and World War II, this slogan allowed Leave to command the emotional terrain of political myth, reminding voters of their nation’s heyday, when the British Empire was still intact.

Read more: Three issues Boris Johnson’s new government must tackle – none of which is Brexit

The mastermind of that campaign, Dominic Cummings, is now leading the team in 10 Downing Street. As a potential election looms, this raises troubling questions for Johnson’s opponents. Is rational argument enough to defeat political myth? Or must Remain also come up with a captivating myth to communicate the rational grounds for staying in the EU if that is to ever happen? Are rationality and myth even compatible?

Considering these problems requires an appreciation of the rhetorical power of political myth, and in this Blumenberg can help us.

Angus Nicholls, Professor of Comparative Literature and German, Queen Mary University of London

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

New BHC Prize: The Martha Moore Trescott Award

The Martha Moore Trescott Award (honoring Paul Uselding, Harold F. Williamson, Richard C. Overton, Alfred  D. Chandler, and Albro Martin)

The Business History Conference is delighted to announce the establishment of a new prize, The Martha Moore Trescott Award. The prize, generously funded by a bequest from the estate of the late Martha Moore Trescott, will be awarded to the best paper at the intersection of business history and the history of technology presented at the annual meeting of the Business History Conference. The award honors pioneering scholars Paul Uselding, Harold F. Williamson, Richard C. Overton, Alfred D. Chandler, and Albro Martin. Martha Moore Trescott was herself a pioneering member of the BHC and published extensively, particularly on the role of women in science and engineering, while she worked in academic administration for several universities. The prize will be for the amount of $500.

Criteria and eligibility:

The BHC will establish a prize committee of three under the terms set out in the by-laws. The prize will be awarded on the basis of the written version of a paper to be presented at the annual meeting. Those wishing to be considered for the prize must indicate so at the time of submitting their original proposal for the meeting. Self-nominating scholars must also provide the written paper to the Chair of the committee not less than one month before the annual meeting. Though the prize will be awarded on the basis of the written paper, candidates must attend the meeting and present their work. Scholars who are eligible for the Kerr Prize may also enter the Trescott Award. There are no other restrictions on eligibility.

Written papers should be no longer than 4,000 words (exclusive of notes, bibliography, appendices, figures and illustrations).

SAMS/BAM Research and Capacity Building Grant Scheme

Online application form now available

The Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS) and the British Academy of Management (BAM) are pleased to announce that the online application form for the SAMS/BAM Research and Capacity Building Grant Scheme is now availble by registering at:

The scheme partnership strengthens the commitment of both organisations to support management research and promote capacity building.

The SAMS/BAM Research and Capacity Building Grant Scheme

SAMS/BAM Research and Capacity Building grants are aimed at researchers who want to develop an empirical research project that:

  • Enables capacity building by bringing together a group of researchers from at least two HE institutions, including early career as well as experienced researchers
  • Produces novel conceptual outcomes based on rigorous, innovative use of methods and by developing original ways of thinking to address complex management problems
  • Demonstrates the social value of management research conducted in the public interest

It is envisaged that projects will normally involve researchers at two or more HE institutions in order to foster a culture of intellectual collaboration and enable capacity building. The intention of the scheme is to widen access of opportunity and increase the diversity and inclusivity of management research. Applications may address this in various ways, including by proposing an interdisciplinary research project if appropriate. Priority will be given to proposals with clear and effective publication, dissemination and impact plans.

The maximum value of each award is £150,000. The duration of projects will be between 24 months (minimum) and 36 months (maximum).

Principal Investigators must be based in a UK HE institution and will normally be located in a School of Management or Business. Co-Investigators may be based in HE institutions outside the UK. HE institutions will be limited to submitting one application (as host institution/Principal Investigator) in response to each annual Scheme call.

The Principal Investigator and all Co-Investigators who are based in Schools of Management or Business must be BAM Members and have active BAM membership for the duration of the project. It is a condition of award that that research findings are presented at a BAM annual conference during the funding period.

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to interview by the SAMS/BAM Grant Award Committee in November 2019.

Applicants are advised to read the SAMS/BAM Research and Capacity Building Grant Application Guidance, available below, before making an application to the Scheme.

Current members of BAM and SAMS Councils are not eligible to apply as Prinicipal Investigators or be named as Co-Investigators


  • Grant scheme launch July 2019
  • Submission system opens 8th August 2019
  • Application deadline 30th September 2019 (17:00 BST)
  • Notification of results December 2019
  • Earliest award start date 31st January 2020


Applications must be submitted electronically via the application portal.

It is recommended that you draft your application in a separate Word document before inputting your answers in to the Award Force application form to prevent the possibility of losing your work.

Please refer to the Terms and Conditions, Financial Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions available at before completing this application form.

The application deadline is 30th September 2019, 17:00 (BST)


If you have any questions on the entry process, please contact the British Academy of Management Grants Administrator, Stuart Hull, by email at

  • You may edit your application after submitting up to the application deadline.
  • Please make sure all your personal details are entered accurately, including contact details, as this will be used in he awards presentation if selected for funding
  • You can use the ‘copy’ feature to create a copy of your entry and change the category if required.

History of Management and Organizations Colloquium

25th Colloquium of the History of Management and Organizations

March 26th and 27th 2020 / Lyon
Organised by the French Association for History of Management and Organizations (AHMO) and the Institute for Education and Research in Healthcare and Social Service Organizations (IFROSS, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3), with the collaboration of the Centre for Historical Research Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA, UMR 5190) and Triangle (UMR 5206).

The Colloquium in History of Management and Organizations (JHMO) is the annual, international and interdisciplinary colloquium organised by the French Association for History of Management and Organizations (AHMO). It gathers scholars in history, management studies, sociology, economics and other
related fields, who share the historical approach of AHMO research topics: organisations, managerial thought and practice, and the field of management studies.

As in previous years, the 25th JHMO is divided in two sessions. The general session is open to any papers dealing with managerial matters using historical methods. The thematic session focuses on “paths and networks”.

General Session

The general session is open to any proposal dealing with AHMO topics (history of the field of management studies and its disciplines, history of organisations, history of managerial thought and practice), with a special interest in accounting history, which has been the foundation of the AHMO community.
Proposals should use historical methods and privilege empirical data, in every sense: archives, textual corpus, interviews, etc. The novelty and originality of the research results will be appreciated.

Thematic Session: paths and networks

The thematic session concerns all topics, issues or methods which utilise the concepts of path or network in the history of organisations and management studies. From a historical perspective, the notions of path and network are deeply linked. Every path is a movement inscribed in time and (geographical, social, economic …) space, which might be described as a network (between locations, people, interests …). Reciprocally, every network is the representation of the relations between people or objects at a given time, and those relations are the consequences of a temporal evolution.

The concepts of path and network are powerful entry points for the history of organisations and management studies. The objective of the thematic session is to bring examples of the use of the concepts of path and network together. Proposals should move beyond the metaphorical use of such concepts, either by focusing
on concrete paths or networks, or by relying on methods based on paths and networks.

a) Taken as concrete historic objects, paths and networks concern every historical period and a variety of topics, such as:

  • banking and financial networks;
  • trade networks (see the study of French merchant networks in the 18th century by Pierre Gervais, Yannick Lemarchand and Cheryl S. McWatters1);
  • colonial networks;
  • professional networks and corps;
  • consumers networks; and
  • family, clan, and diaspora networks.

This list is non-exhaustive and we welcome proposals on any topic related to paths and networks.

b) Paths and networks are also central concepts in quantitative methods which developed in disciplines such as sociology, demography or geography since the 1970s. Despite the adoption by history, and notably economic history, of long-run statistical series throughout the 20th century, the discipline has remained relatively closed to such methods. Nonetheless, in 2008 Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc underscored the interest of quantitative approaches in their “taking particularly into account the phenomenon of networks and paths that has been put on the agenda of historical research since the 1990s”. Such methods are indeed powerful tools for description and interpretation, but also for hypothesis testing (such as deconstructing ordinary representations relayed in archives or discourses), or even as a heuristic for unveiling “definition problems easier not to mention if one sticks to qualitative methods”. The thematic session is open to any proposal using such quantitative methods for describing and analysing paths and networks in any historical period, such as:

Career paths: the concept of career is of prime importance in the history of organisations and management. Qualitative methods such as biography focus on such a concept, but quantitative methods have also developed to analyse professional trajectories. Primarily used in ancient and medieval history, prosopography has developed particularly in contemporary history for studying the élites or in sociohistorical approaches relying on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, for example for studying scholars. Other methods such as event history analysis7 are used to study careers in sociology. How might such tools be applied to the history of organisations and management?

History of organisations: the concepts of path and network can be applied equally at the organisational level, especially with social network analysis. For example, the study of interlocking directorates (which “occurs when a person affiliated with one organization sits on the board of directors of another organizations”) is now a classic approach for analysing organisations, particularly the largest US firms. It mainly developed in the field of sociology, economics and management studies, occasionally in a longitudinal perspective based on cross-section analysis, as for example on the British industry in the 20th century. From a historical perspective, this method provides first-rate material for understanding the forms of capitalism and their evolution. What insights could such methods offer to the history of organisations and management, for example on forms of governance or the evolution of strategy?

Diffusion of knowledge: social network analysis has largely spread in social sciences and humanities, notably in history. It provides quantitative tools for studying the dissemination of knowledge in scientific fields or communities (see for example the research programme proposed by Catherine Herfeld on history of economics). For instance, the analysis of co-authorship or citations network has considerably developed since the seminal works of Eugene Garfield who is one of the creators of the bibliographic database Web of Science and the rise of bibliometric analysis of citation impact.

Possibilities offered by such methods remain largely unexplored in the history of the various scientific fields dealing with organisations and managerial practices. How could the concepts of path and network, or the methods based on those concepts, be used to study the diffusion of knowledge within organisations?

This list of topics is non-exhaustive. Proposals adopting other methods based on the concepts of path and network are welcome, for instance, more qualitative approaches relying on actor-network theory.

The Joseph Colleye Prize

The first Joseph Colleye Prize in accounting history, in the amount of €1,500, will be awarded during the 25th Colloquium in the History of Management and Organizations. The call for applications for the prize is available at

Submission instructions

Proposals should be 1 to 2 pages (5,000 signs, references excluded) and include explicitly:

  • Research question;
  • Sources (archives, textual corpus, interviews, field of observation…);
  • Methods; and
  • Main results if available.

Proposals may be written in French or English. A summary in both French and English should be provided. Proposals are to be submitted to or on the website of the conference:

Important deadlines:

  • Submission of proposals: 31 October 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: 18 November 2019
  • Final version of papers (20 to 25 pages, 30 to 40,000 signs, references excluded): 2 March 2020

Proposals will follow a double-blind review process.

Presentation format

Presentations will be organised into sessions of 3 to 4 presentations depending on the topic. The oral presentation should be 20 minutes in length, and will be followed by a 20-minute discussion period. Participants should send a final version of their paper before 2 March 2020 in order to distribute papers to the other participants of their session. Oral presentations may be in French or English.

Date and location

The 25th Colloquium in History of Management and Organizations will be held on Thursday the 26th and Friday the 27th of March 2020, in Lyon. The morning of Thursday the 26th will be dedicated to the doctoral workshop. The colloquium will begin on Tuesday the 26th at 14h00 and end on Friday the 27th at 16h00.


Email: / Website:

AAHANZBS Conference “Institutions and change”

The Association of Academic Historians in Australian and New Zealand Business Schools (AAHANZBS) 11th Annual Conference, 7-8 November 2019, AUT Business School, Auckland, New Zealand

Call for Papers

The Business and Labour History Group (B&LHG) of the Work Research Institute, AUT University Business School, New Zealand, will be hosting the 11th Annual Conference of AAHANZBS on 7-8 November 2019.

You are invited to submit papers addressing the conference theme, including papers relating to accounting history, business history, economic history, labour history, management history, marketing history, tourism history, transport history and other areas of interest relating to historical research in business schools. We also invite papers / panel suggestions around teaching and pedagogy relating to business and labour history.

We welcome papers from researchers outside business schools who have an interest in these fields of study.

Both abstracts and full papers may be submitted for review. Abstracts will be published, and full papers delivered at the conference potentially be reviewed for possible inclusion in journal special issues (details tbc.)

Please submit either a 1000 word abstract or a 6,000 word maximum paper for refereeing by 2 August 2019 to Simon Mowatt at

The abstract will provide:
(i) A summary of the argument of the paper
(ii) A summary of the findings of the paper
(iii) A selected list of references for the paper

Papers should follow the Labour History style guide – All authors of the abstracts will be notified by 30 August 2019 at the latest whether their abstracts or papers have been accepted for the conference. Registration and other details will be circulated shortly.