The Barings Archives has an extensive collection of documents located primarily in the ING building in the City of London.
The firm that became known as Baring Brothers was established in
1762, and it quickly became one of Great Britain’s most important firms in the
financing of domestic and international trade. As you may know, Barings
became insolvent in 1995 as a result of unauthorised trading by one of its
employees, Nick Leeson. ING of the Netherlands acquired the majority of
the business, and in 2004, MassMutual Financial Group bought the asset
Today the Barings Archives continues as a charitable trust.
I joined its Board of Trustees earlier this year.
The link below takes you to the Archives’ webpage. Its
archivists are in the process of digitising as much of the collection as
possible, but the vast majority of the archive is not yet digitised.
If you are doing research on international financial institutions
and/or international trade, I encourage you to click on the link below and
browse the collection:
The BHC Doctoral Colloquium in Business History
will be held once again in conjunction with the 2020
BHC annual meeting. This prestigious workshop, funded by Cambridge University
Press, will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, March
11th and Thursday March 12th, 2020. Typically limited to ten students, the colloquium
is open to doctoral candidates who are pursuing dissertation research within
the broad field of business history, from any relevant discipline (e.g., from
economic sociology, political science, cultural anthropology, or management, as
well as history). Most participants are in year 3 or 4 or their degree
program, though in some instances applicants at a later stage make a compelling
case that their thesis research had evolved in ways that led them to see the
advantages of an intensive engagement with business history.
The theme of the 2020 BHC annual meeting is
“Collaboration in Business and Business History.” We welcome
proposals from students working within the conference theme, as well as any other
thematic area of business history. Topics (see
link for past examples) may range from the early modern era to the present, and
explore societies across the globe. Participants work intensively with a
distinguished group of BHC-affiliated scholars (including the incoming BHC
president), discussing dissertation proposals, relevant literatures and
research strategies, and career trajectories.
Applications are due by 15 November 2019 via
email to email@example.com and should
include: a statement of interest; CV; preliminary or final dissertation
prospectus (10-15 pages); and a letter of support from your dissertation
supervisor (or prospective supervisor). All participants receive a
stipend that partially defrays travel costs to the annual meeting.
Applicants will receive notification of the selection committee’s decisions by the end of 2019.
The director of the Colloquium is
Edward Balleisen, Professor of History and Public Policy, Duke
University. Other faculty participants include:
Gustavo del Angel, Professor
of Economics, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), Mexico City
(Mexican and Latin American Business History)
Neil Rollings, Professor of
Economic and Business History, University of Glasgow (European Business History)
Susie Pak, Professor of
History, St. Johns University (American Business History)
Madeleine Zelin, Professor of
History, Columbia University (Chinese and Asian Business History)
I would like to draw the attention of my readers to a superb new business-historical paper that has appeared in Academy of Management Learning & Education. The paper Mairi Maclean, Gareth Shaw, Charles Harvey and Alan Booth develops our understanding of the history of management education at the same time as addressing a classic debate in the field of business that was initiated by the late Al Chandler’s remarks about the role of education in the relative decline of British industry.
Abstract: British interwar management (1918-1939) has been criticized as overly conservative, comprising a core of progressive firms amidst a mass of conservatively-run, family-dominated businesses. According to the dominant narrative, British firms exhibited little interest in new managerial approaches. Our study of the Rowntree business lectures and British interwar management movement challenges this view; suggesting British managers displayed greater openness to innovation than is commonly recognized. We uncover and analyse a network of British firms engaged in management education through organized peer-to-peer communication, facilitated by lectures and management research groups initiated by Seebohm Rowntree. Our primary contribution to the literature is to offer a more nuanced perspective on the evolution of British management learning in the interwar years. This reveals dynamic knowledge networks reflexively engaged in advancing and codifying practice-based learning to promote the diffusion of effective solutions to shared problems – building communities of practice, codifying management knowledge, and drawing on an ethos of ‘business as service’. By undertaking archival research to create a coherent body of documentary material, and making this available to others, we also make a methodological contribution, creating a new ‘space’ for future researchers to explore, from which they can write new management histories of their own.
One of the many great things about this paper is that the authors have adopted a variant of the Open Data principle and have shared the data (i.e., the historical documents on which the paper is based) in an online repository. I have long advocated the adoption of Open Data as a norm in the field of business history (see our paper on the subject in Business History) and I am thus very pleased to see this principle being applied here in such an excellent way. Check out all of the historical sources on the companion website for this paper, which can be found here.
The Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society, Hagley Museum and Library, Wilmington, Delaware is pleased to announce the recipients of grants and fellowships awarded July 25th, 2019. Please note that the next deadline for applications for the exploratory and Henry Belin du Pont Fellowship is October 31st. The H. B. du Pont Dissertation Fellowship deadline is November 15th. Here is the link on Hagley Museum and Library’s website to apply…. https://www.hagley.org/research/grants-fellowships.
Carol Ressler Lockman
Manager, Hagley Center
PO Box 3630
Wilmington DE 19807
U.S. Military Academy
Privilege and Punishment: Class, Crime, and the Development of the American State
University of Washington, Seattle
Bin, Bag, Box: The Architecture of Convenience
Visiting Assistant Professor
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
The Public Art of Public Relations: Creating the New American City
H. B. du Pont Fellowship
Post Doctoral Fellow
University of Chicago
The Graveyard Shift: Coal and Citizenship in an Age of Energy Crisis
Ph. D. Candidate
The Historical Trajectory of “Free Enterprise”
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Railroad contractors and the rise of general contractors for buildings
Hagley Exploratory Research Grants
These grants support one-week visits by scholars who believe that their project will benefit from Hagley research collections, but need the opportunity to explore them on-site to determine if a Henry Belin du Pont Fellowship application is warranted. Priority will be given to junior scholars with innovative projects that seek to expand on existing scholarship. Applicants should reside more than 50 miles from Hagley, and the stipend is $400. Application deadlines: March 31, June 30 and October 31
Henry Belin du Pont Fellowships
These research grants enable scholars to pursue advanced research and study in the collections of the Hagley Library. They are awarded for the length of time needed to make use of Hagley collections for a specific project. The stipends are for a maximum of eight weeks and are pro-rated at $400/week for recipients who reside further than 50 miles from Hagley, and $200/week for those within 50 miles. Application deadlines: March 31, June 30 and October 31
Henry Belin du Pont Dissertation Fellowships
This fellowship is designed for graduate students who have completed all course work for the doctoral degree and are conducting research on their dissertation. Applications should demonstrate superior intellectual quality, present a persuasive methodology for the project, and show that there are significant research materials at Hagley pertinent to the dissertation. This is a residential fellowship with a term of four months. The fellowship provides $6,500, free housing on Hagley’s grounds, mail and internet access, and an office. Application deadline: November 15
The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies at the Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California, is seeking applicants for a clinical faculty position in entrepreneurship. The position may be at the assistant professor, associate professor, or full professor ranks. We strongly encourage applications from candidates with both a dedication to teaching and a track record of research and/or scholarly contributions to entrepreneurship. The typical teaching load is four courses per year. The job represents a full-time, multi-year academic appointment that is renewable. The job will commence in August 2020.
The Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is a national leader in entrepreneurship education and research. Our faculty is composed of a diverse mix of highly regarded researchers and practitioners. We are a co-sponsor of the West Coast Entrepreneurship Research Symposium and the Greif Entrepreneurship Research Impact Award – awarded annually at the Academy of Management Conference. The Greif Center also prioritizes teaching excellence: our faculty have won multiple USASBE Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year awards and an AOM award for Innovation in Entrepreneurship Pedagogy. Our undergraduate and graduate programs each ranked #9 in the most recent US News and World Report lists. In addition to offering courses in the Marshall School’s undergraduate and MBA programs, we offer specialized graduate degree programs in social entrepreneurship (MSSE) and entrepreneurship and innovation (MSEI).
Preferred qualifications include:
Doctoral (or another terminal) degree with entrepreneurship or business-related emphasis.
Superior communication and teaching skills, with demonstrated excellence in teaching entrepreneurship courses to undergraduate and/or MBA students.
Track record of scholarly contributions to the field of entrepreneurship (e.g., journal articles for academic or practitioner audiences, books or book chapters, teaching cases or other published pedagogical materials, conference presentations).
Practical work experience relevant for entrepreneurship (e.g., as founder, manager, or investor in start-ups or as a corporate or social entrepreneur).
If applicable to your background, please highlight experience in emerging technologies and interdisciplinary work in STEM as well as expertise in venture bootstrapping/finance/investment and negotiation/deal-making. Greif faculty take pride in our work to promote diversity and inclusion in the classroom, and we welcome candidates who help students explore the intersection of entrepreneurship with their unique personal experiences!
Salary and rank are dependent on qualifications, and initial contract length ranges from two to four years based on rank, with the strong expectation that the contract will be renewed if performance expectations are met or exceeded. Employee benefits for full-time faculty are excellent and include tuition assistance for qualifying children and spouses at USC and other participating Universities.
Qualified candidates should apply on-line by midnight PST November 11, 2019. Required documents include 1) cover letter; 2) curriculum vitae that specifies teaching, research, and work experience alongside education; 3) evidence of teaching effectiveness (please include student evaluation results and sample syllabi); 4) two examples of scholarly contributions, and 5) contact information for three references. Specific details for uploading documents are provided after clicking on the “apply” link. For questions about the position, please contact the search committee chair, Professor Pai-Ling Yin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
USC is an equal opportunity educator and employer, proudly pluralistic and firmly committed to providing equal opportunity for outstanding persons of every race, gender, creed, and background. The University particularly encourages women, members of underrepresented groups, veterans and individuals with disabilities to apply. USC will make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with known disabilities unless doing so would result in an undue hardship.
USC Marshall is renowned for its high-ranking undergraduate, graduate, international and executive education programs, an exceptional faculty engaged in leading-edge research, a diverse and creative student body, and a commitment to technological advancement. The research productivity of Marshall’s 200 full-time faculty ranks among the top 10 business schools in the world. For more information about the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, please go to http://www.marshall.usc.edu.
The University of Southern California (USC), founded in 1880, is located in the heart of downtown L.A. and is the largest private employer in the City of Los Angeles. As an employee of USC, you will be a part of a world-class research university and a member of the “Trojan Family.”
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Martha Moore Trescott Award (honoring Paul Uselding,
Harold F. Williamson, Richard C. Overton, Alfred D. Chandler, and Albro
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.
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