The January issue of JMS features a really interesting piece by Andrew Smith and Miriam Kaminishi about the historical origins of the concept of the ‘Confucian entrepreneur’. As anyone who has taught on the basis of international business textbooks can attest, the way in which Confucianism in drawn upon to explain phenomena in China’s political economy is often quite odd and uncomfortable. Below is the reference and abstract. Happy reading!
Confucian Entrepreneurship: Towards a Genealogy of a Conceptual Tool
The concept of the ‘Confucian Entrepreneur’ is now used by many scholars to understand entrepreneurship in China and other East Asian countries. This paper traces the development of this concept from its roots in the writings of nineteenth‐century Western authors to its use in modern management journals. We show that while this conceptual tool has been adapted over time, the claims associated with it have remained largely similar. Use of the term Confucian entrepreneur implies belief that Confucian ideas induce Chinese entrepreneurs to behave differently than their Western counterparts, a claim for which the empirical foundations are weak. We do not go so far as to say that those who research Chinese entrepreneurship should discard the concept of the Confucian entrepreneur simply because of its historical origins in colonialism. However, we do call on researchers to reflect on the historical origins of their conceptual tools. By historicising our theories of entrepreneurship, this paper should encourage greater scholarly reflexivity and thus the development of entrepreneurship and management theory with greater predictive power.
An archive of business and travel history with national and international significance is to be preserved and secured for the future in the county, after the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland was selected as the new permanent home of the Thomas Cook archive collection.
The Record Office, which is run by Leicestershire County Council in partnership with Leicester City Council and Rutland County Council, was awarded the honour of housing the internationally significant collection following a bidding process organised by the Business Archives Council and Crisis Management Team for business archives in liaison with the Official Receiver.
The entire Thomas Cook archive, which encompasses records from the earliest days of package travel right up to the modern day, is now being transferred to the Record Office in Wigston.
The huge collection is made up of thousands of individual items, including minute books and staff records, posters, travel guides and timetables. It also features 60,000 photographic images and souvenirs from Thomas Cook’s 178-year history, including glass and china, uniforms through the ages and even a model of a Nile steamer.
The archive will be the single largest collection at the Record Office, which has six miles of shelving representing 1,000 years of the history of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.
The Thomas Cook collection will be thoroughly catalogued by Record Office staff, before being made available to the public.
Senior Archivist at Leicestershire County Council, Robin Jenkins, said: “This is an internationally significant archive relating to a company which began in Leicester and was operated from there in its formative years. We already house an important Thomas Cook collection relating to both the man and his business.
“We see the collection as ‘coming home’ to Leicestershire and we will be delighted to look after it here and promote its use. The collection also fits closely with other local businesses which often originated during the 19th century and have an international reputation – such as Wolsey, Symington and Ladybird Books.”
Leicestershire County Council Leader, Nick Rushton, said: “I am delighted that the Record Office has been chosen as the permanent home for this important collection. The bid was a success because of the strong local links with Thomas Cook, as well as because the Record Office has an excellent reputation for innovative outreach work and the promotion of its collections.
“The fact that the Thomas Cook archive will be housed at the Record Office will preserve it for future generations, as well as providing a valuable resource to the people of Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland.”
Leicester City Mayor Peter Soulsby added: “Thomas Cook is one of Leicester’s best-known sons, and his pioneering work, which essentially invented the package holiday, means his name became known worldwide. It’s very fitting that this fascinating archive of the company’s history is housed in Leicestershire, so close to where his ground-breaking work in the holiday industry took place.”
Vice President of the Business Archives Council, Alison Turton, said: “‘The deposit of the Thomas Cook archive with the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland is a landmark achievement. It demonstrates the vital importance of archivists and academics working together with insolvency practitioners to ensure the survival and accessibility of business archives of national importance.”
Professor in History and Strategy at the University of Bristol, Stephanie Decker, who was the independent academic advisor on the selection panel, said: “It’s fantastic news that the Thomas Cook archive has been saved and will be housed in the region where the company began. The archive has local to global relevance and is highly important to anyone interested in the history of travel and leisure.”
Items from the Thomas Cook Archive. Images courtesy and copyright of Leicestershire County Council.
Thomas Cook founded his travel company in Leicester and ran his first excursion from there to Loughborough in 1841. The company grew rapidly and by 1855 was running continental tours, opening a London office in 1865. Thomas Cook is credited with inventing the package tour and bringing affordable travel to ordinary people. In 1878, Cook himself retired to Leicester, where he died in 1892. The company he founded became a household name with global reach. It finally ceased trading in September 2019 and a permanent home was sought for its archive.
The bidding for the Thomas Cook archive was supported by Leicestershire County, Leicester City and Rutland County Councils, Leicester and DeMontfort Universities, the East Midlands Oral History Archive and the Media Archive for Central England.
Business History Conference, Charlotte, NC, March 12, 2020
Submission deadline: January 10, 2020
In thepast years, uses of the past hasbecome a prominent research theme for business historians and organizationscholars alike. Studies on the usefulness and appropriation of the past haveappeared across diverse fields such as business history, organization studies,marketing, learning & education, and CSR. Uses of history is fashionable. Butwhere will the field go in the future?
In the CBSPDW we seek to focus on questions that have yet to asked, and we would like toexplore the theories and methods that might take the field forward.
The workshop offers an opportunity to getfeedback and generate ideas of how to develop concrete paper drafts that deal,one way or the other, with uses of the past. In addition, the PDW will serve asa forum where we can discuss future directions and opportunities (and potentialdead ends) going forward with a ‘uses-of-the-past’ agenda. What are thequestions and research that are yet to be explored, and what are the role forbusiness historians in shaping a ‘uses-of the past’ research agenda?
Themes to be explored in the papers could include,amongst others:
Uses of the past for branding, strategy and identity purposes
Corporate and public museums
The use (andabuse?) of organizational anniversaries
Uses of historyin action
The role and practices of historical consultancies (e.g. WinthropGroup, The History Factory andothers)
Theoretical andmethodological perspectives connected to uses of the past.
Criticalperspectives on uses of the past
Submitted texts could take form asextended abstracts or full paper drafts. The important thing is that readers canidentify the key arguments, theories and empirical material, for them toprovide useful feedback, suggestions and comments.
Depending on the submitted abstracts andfull papers, the participants and organizers could potentially explore theopportunity of a subsequent special issue on uses of the past in arelevant academic publication, such as, for example Business History.
Participants are expected to read allcirculated papers. Please submit a paper draft or extended abstract before January10, 2020 to the workshop organizers.
Capri Summer School was born on the impulse of AIDEA (the Italian Academy of Business Administration and Management). The overall aim of the summer school is to enhance participants’ research capabilities.
Capri Summer School provides a chance for doctoral students and early career researchers to develop their understanding of research methods in management studies, benefiting from an interdisciplinary setting, under the guidance of a panel of internationally renowned scholars.
The school is organized in cooperation with the British Academy of Management (BAM).
Audience and Method
The course is aimed at doctoral students and early stage researchers in the areas of management, interested in qualitative studies of accounting, management, finance, organization, etc. Candidates who are developing interesting ideas but who still have time to be influenced by participation in the summer school will receive the strongest consideration. Admission will be on a competitive basis.
About 30 participants will be admitted: in addition to overall quality of content, factors such as position within the doctoral process and institutional representation will be taken into account. Participants will be selected by the faculty together with the organizing committee. Lectures will cover epistemological issues, data collection methods and analytic techniques such as content and discourse analysis.
The summer school will be held on the Island of Capri at Villa Orlandi, a seventeenth century villa re-stored by the University of Napoli Federico II. The Villa, surrounded by a nice park, is particularly suited for study and includes all essential facilities. Over ten desks equipped with PCs and Internet connections are available.
How to apply
Applicants are invited to submit a single PDF file consisting of:
A 4-page extended abstract of their thesis project/research idea. Clearly specifying :
Originality and importance of their intended topic;
Contribution of the work (expected);
Methodological perspectives or epistemological positions they would think as useful to discuss during the summer school.
A motivation letter explaining the reasons behind the application.
All materials should be sent as a single PDF file by 2nd May 2020. An email receipt of the letter will be sent to acknowledge submissions.
Fees will be limited to Euro 460,00 for each participant (not including transports and accommodation).
successful fundraising campaign earlier this year and over a year of hard work,
the Feminist Library is very pleased to announce that it has now signed the
lease and has the keys to its new building – the Sojourner Truth Community
Centre at 161 Sumner Road in Peckham. We’re planning to open for our
first ever event on the 31st January. More details about that coming
The Coleman Prize 2019 was awarded at the Association’s Annual Conference hosted at Sheffield Hallam. This year’s finalists were Joe Lane who completed his PhD at the London School of Economics and Leigh Gleason who completed at De Montfort University. They both presented key findings for their PhD Dissertations in a plenary session. Joe’s dissertation entitled, Networks, innovation and knowledge: the North Staffordshire Potteries, 1750-1851, whilst Leigh’s is, Canvassed and Delivered: Direct Selling at Keystone View Company, 1898-1910. The panel selected Joe Lane as the winner of the 2019 Coleman Prize! Congratulations to him and Leigh for two excellent dissertations and presentations.
Reflections on ABH 2019
Joseph Lane, Coleman Prize Winner 2019
The Steel City shone brightly this summer for the Association of Business Historian’s Annual Conference. Sheffield Hallam University, and in particular, John Singleton, hosted delegates for two days of academic discussion on business history topics ranging from trade, risk and war in the Early Modern period, and digital disruption from the late twentieth century. Nestled amongst striking architectural reminders of Sheffield’s historic relationship with business and industry, the modern Cantor building served as a hub for the conference, and a venue for lively conversation over refreshments and lunches. As a northerner and researcher of industrial clusters, I couldn’t help but notice the aptness of the site of one of the most iconic historic British industrial clusters (and my old stomping ground as a kid) was the setting for a gathering of business historians engaged in discussion, debate and collaboration. I feel it is my duty to invoke Marshall: business and industry were once again ‘in the air’.
This was my second ABH conference after my introduction to the association at the 2016 conference in Berlin as a PhD student. Having missed two years, I was pleased to be back in at the deep end attending as a panel co-chair and presenter, and potential Coleman Prize nominee (my thanks to the Association for selecting my work as the winning thesis!). A jam-packed schedule over both days emphasised why we gather each year: to promote and celebrate the study of business history, in all its varieties. This year did not disappoint; a total of fifty-nine papers were presented across twenty panels alongside a Keynote, and book-ended by the Tony Slaven Doctoral workshop and the Corley Paper Development Workshop for Early Career Researchers. A truly eclectic conference programme. Top marks to the organising committee who selected the timely conference theme, ‘Business Transformation in an Uncertain World’, that captured and framed research on topics including the complexities and uncertainties of warfare and its aftermath, trust (or lack thereof) in the upper echelons of management and attempts to rebuild it, and female entrepreneurship and family firms in nineteenth-century Britain.
2007 Coleman Prize Winner Professor Stephanie Decker delivered a thought-provoking Keynote (an incentive for me to work hard!). Her lecture spoke directly to the conference themes of uncertainty and transformation. An intriguing delve into African advertising at Barclays Bank DCO in the 1950s revealed corporate strategy and legitimisation practices in the context of decolonisation and Africanization. A lesson in the value and use of corporate archives. I was sad to miss the session devoted to innovative methods in business history (my own session ran at the same time). One of the characteristics that first attracted me to business history, and continues to do so, is the multiplicity of approaches that business historians are willing and able to adopt and draw on. Papers on transatlantic trade were rich with detail from seventeenth-century personal correspondence, close case studies of armaments and shipbuilding in Britain and Finland used photographic evidence from the first half of the twentieth century, and the appointment diaries of Margaret Thatcher were analysed using quantitative network analysis.
All this thought-provoking talk and research left delegates hungry and thirsty, which stood us in good stead for a short trip across the city for our reception and dinner on the first day. A good meal and chance to unwind after a long day sparked off interesting and wide-ranging conversations. Of the many conversations I had at the conference, two stand out – one about the importance of research grants and the digitisation of archival sources, and another about Harry Potter studio tours (I’ll leave the readers to determine which was with an old PhD colleague and which was with an ABH committee member!) The main point being the ABH is a place where PhD students, archivists and business historians (novice and experienced) meet and dispense with formalities to discuss that which we do and love: interpretation of the past.
My final reflection on this year’s conference is one of collegiality and warmth. From the many cups of coffee enjoyed with others during the breaks, to the reception and dinner, by way of rigorous and intriguing paper presentations, it was easy to find a friendly face. As the new academic year begins, I look forward to Nottingham in 2020 and my role as chair of the Coleman Prize Committee. Save-the-date for what promises to be another judicious conference theme: ‘Bubbles and Crises; Mayhem and Misery; Corruption and Disruption’
There is increasing interest in business schools in History-as-Sensemaking (i.e., the use of history by business people to understand the present and plan for the future). Indeed, this issue was discussed extensively at the recent EGOS conference in Edinburgh. Edinburgh is the site of a fascinating institution, the Library of Mistakes, which serves to make information about financial, economic, and business history available to businesspeople, especially those who are active in Edinburgh’s important investment management cluster. The Library of Mistakes is a Scottish charity (registered charity SC040205) founded to promote the study of financial history. According to the BBC, it maintains a small but excellent library in Edinburgh that hosts talks by experts.
In recent years financial education has focused on the power of the equation to explain economic and financial forces. This distillation of complex forces into faux objectivity has created dangerous errors in financial understanding… The Library of Mistakes exists to allow students, professionals and members of the general public to study financial history to understand how finance has worked, rather than how it should work if key unrealistic assumptions are made.