In another instalment of our digital history series, I wanted to highlight that there is increasingly work being done involving crowdsourcing. Many of you may have read the media reports that during the lock down, a crowdsourcing project to digitise rainfall records has barrelled ahead as people enthusiastically engaged. The project is now complete. Does make you wonder what other archival resources may benefit from such an approach.
The National Archives UK has been exploring this recently as well and the potential for expanding this is really not something that was on my radar at all until recently. An interesting insight into what is happening is provided by a chapter by Alexandra Everleigh, ‘Crowding out the Archivist?’ in an edited volume on Crowdsourcing our Heritage. I am not aware that there are any organization or business-focused crowdsourcing projects underway, but may just be my ignorance. Do let us know if this is something that is being explored or ongoing in an archive near you!
Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal has published a special issue devoted to historical approaches to entrepreneurship research. The contributions highlight the value of a range of methods — socioeconomic history, cultural history, microhistory, comparative history, and historical case studies — in entrepreneurship research. The introduction discusses how these approaches advance theoretical views of the nature of entrepreneurial opportunities and action. The full, open-access special issue can be found here.
The University of Southern California’s Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies seeks applicants for a one-year post-doctoral fellowship with the possibility of renewal for a second year. Scholars with interests in founder perspectives and decision-making encouraged to apply, as are those with more specialized interests in the ethics, sociology, or history of entrepreneurship. Successful candidates will be expected to be in residence during the fellowship and to participate actively in the Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. During their term, fellows will actively collaborate with Greif Center faculty and contribute to the Center’s fellowship program in addition to conducting and publishing their own research. The postdoctoral researcher will work under the supervision of Professor Dan Wadhwani. Interested candidates are welcome to contact Professor Wadhwani at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
For more information and to apply please click here.
If you are interested in how our research practices are likely to shift as a result of the ‘digital tsunami’ that is facing archives, digital history is the place to go. But business and organizational historians have not really been part of these debates so far. We are starting a series of occasional posts about some of the resources that are out there on digital tools and debates.
For a bit of reading, a good place to start is Ian Milligan’s History in the age of abundance? How the web is transforming historical research (2019). We have a review in Business History by Adam Nix, and he has kindly agreed to make the code for 50 free offprints available – just click here. (FYI – when they are gone, they are gone.)
Here’s the opening to get you started:
“The late twentieth century and early millennium are fast becoming focal periods for historians; as Milligan notes, we are now further from the 1990s than we were from the 1960s when substantive historical work began on that pivotal decade. Given the tendency towards comparatively recent historical contexts, business historians are likely to be among the first to start exploring these periods. However, to do so, they will need to engage with a new and challenging set of sources: sources that were created digitally; sources like those deriving from the World Wide Web. Ultimately, it is this engagement that Milligan’s latest book seeks to encourage and enable, and in doing so, he provides readers with a comprehensive and well-articulated view into the web as a focus for historical research. …”
Ian Milligan has posted about the review here in case you are interested.
Hello everyone and apologies for the long pause between posts, which was partly due to illness, but also, as you can imagine, due to the extraordinary times we find ourselves in. Many of us had to prepare online teaching at short notice, and many of the events we blog about have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic. Going forward, we will only run one blog per week on Fridays, as there simply not as many events and updates as there would usually be.
But today we have some good news, as one of our great editors, Christina Lubinski, is looking for submissions for an exciting new special issue in Business History on historical entrepreneurship.
Research on entrepreneurship has flourished in recent years, and the public interest in it has arguably never been greater. Few would disagree that entrepreneurship is one of the primary drivers of industry dynamics, economic and societal change, and innovation. However, the rapidly growing field of entrepreneurship studies has not displayed great strength in capturing dynamics and evolutions over time, partly due to a lack of historical empirical work of the sort that Schumpeter (1939) has already called for several decades ago. This special issue sets out to bring together an interdisciplinary group of scholars analyzing the links between entrepreneurship and (societal and market) transformations.
The Special Issue “Entrepreneurship and Transformations” takes its starting point in the critique that the field of entrepreneurship studies suffers from a fixation on the micro-processes governing the interaction of individuals and opportunities (Shane 2003), while largely ignoring the macro-dynamics of which entrepreneurship is part. It builds on the growing interdisciplinary dialogue between history and entrepreneurship studies (Wadhwani and Jones 2014, Perchard, MacKenzie et al. 2017, Wadhwani, Kirsch et al. 2020 pre-published online) that has triggered much needed methodological and theoretical reflections on historical entrepreneurship research.
The editors of this SI give an overview of this field of study in their annotated bibliography and encourage authors to engage with (a sub-set of) this literature. In particular, they welcome contributions that build on these insights to empirically explore the links between entrepreneurship and (societal and market) transformations over time. We see a research opportunity for scholars who use historical methods and sources to explore
opportunity recognition and opportunity exploitation as a long-term process. Artur Cole (1959), for example, introduced the idea of an “entrepreneurial stream”—a metaphor highlighting that entrepreneurial opportunities often unfold over long period of time, with one opportunity building on previous ones. These long-term developments easily become hidden if we focus too closely on one individual or one company; however, the question how new opportunities emerge from existing ones, and how (experiential and codified) knowledge travels between individuals and institutions is of great importance for understanding the entrepreneurial process in and between companies (Galambos and Amatori 2016).
the interactions between entrepreneurship and the cultural and socioeconomic environment they are embedded in (Welter and Gartner 2016, Baker and Welter 2018). So far, scholarly approaches to contextualizing entrepreneurship have varied widely. One set of work, drawing on institutional theory and following Baumol (1990), have interpreted contexts as a source of constraints and incentives on entrepreneurial behavior. A second approach, drawing on social movement and social group research, have approached contextualization as a matter of “embedding” entrepreneurial processes within social groups, movements, and networks (Hiatt, Sine et al. 2009). A third approach, drawing on a social constructivist view of contexts, examines how entrepreneurial actors shape and even create the contexts for their actions (Jones and Pitelis 2015). Historical research, particularly work that takes a comparative or international perspective, has long emphasized the role of context in shaping the very definition of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial processes. But how exactly does historical work lead us to reconsider and rethink the conceptualization of context? How can context be operationalized and studied using a historical lens? We believe that non-Western contexts and “deep histories”, in particular, can help us question and revise some of the taken-for-granted assumptions around entrepreneurship and context.
Finally, we specifically encourage interdisciplinary collaborations between historians and scholars from other disciplines that significantly advance our understanding of entrepreneurship and market transformations and develop approaches that are useful to scholars exploring entrepreneurship historically.
Baker, T. and F. Welter (2018). “Contextual Entrepreneurship: An Interdisciplinary Perspective.” Foundations and Trends®in Entrepreneurship 14(4): 357-426.
Baumol, W. J. (1990). “Entrepreneurship: Productive, Unproductive, and Destructive.” Journal of Political Economy 98(5): 893-921.
Cole, A. (1959). Business Enterprise in its Social Setting. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
Galambos, L. and F. Amatori (2016). “The Entrepreneurial Multiplier.” Enterprise & Society 17(4): 763-808.
Hiatt, S. R., W. D. Sine and P. S. Tolbert (2009). “From Pabst to Pepsi: The Deinstitutionalization of Social Practices and the Creation of Entrepreneurial Opportunities.” Administrative Science Quarterly 54(4): 635-667.
Jones, G. and C. Pitelis (2015). “Entrepreneurial Imagination and a Demand and Supply-Side Perspective on MNE and Cross-Border Organisation.” Journal of International Management 21(4): 309-321.
Perchard, A., N. G. MacKenzie, S. Decker and G. Favero (2017). “Clio in the Business School: Historical Approaches in Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship.” Business History: 1-24.
Schumpeter, J. A. (1939). Business Cycles: A Theoretical, Historical and Statistical Analysis of the Capitalist Process, Vol. I. New York and London, McGraw-Hill.
Shane, S. (2003). A General Theory of Entrepreneurship:The Individual–Opportunity Nexus. Cheltenham, Edward Elgar.
Wadhwani, D. R., D. Kirsch, F. Welter, W. B. Gartner and G. Jones (2020 pre-published online). “Context, Time, and Change: Historical Approaches to Entrepreneurship Research.” Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal.
Wadhwani, R. D. and G. Jones (2014). Schumpeter’s Plea: Historical Reasoning in Entrepreneurship Theory and Research. Organizations in Time: History, Theory and Methods. M. Bucheli and R. D. Wadhwani. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 192-216.
Welter, F. and W. B. Gartner, Eds. (2016). A Research Agenda for Entrepreneurship and Context. Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar Publishing.
We welcome contributions to the outlined research agenda that are based on original research and innovative analysis. We particularly encourage contributions by interdisciplinary teams of authors and those that combine source-based historical analysis with insights, concepts or data from other disciplines.
Papers should not exceed 8,000 words, inclusive of tables and footnotes, and use US spelling. By submitting to the SI, authors confirm that their contributions are not under consideration elsewhere. All proposals should be submitted via ScholarOne, indicating that they are contributions to this Special Issue “Entrepreneurship and Transformations”. All articles will go through a peer-review process. It is the responsibility of the author(s) to ensure that the manuscript fully complies with the publishing guidelines of Business History.
The workshop is being held by the Accounting History Special Interest Group (AH SIG) at Southampton University on Monday, 30 March 2020 10:30–17:00, before the main BAFA Annual Conference.
Accounting history research involves investigating the development and role of accounting in the past. The stories of history are gleaned from several sources, including documents in archives, libraries, private collections, and oral recollections. They are illuminated by knowledge of context, including, social, economic, commercial, legal, educational, financial, and religious factors identified in the literature. And they are interpreted and explained using those factors, often in combination with a selection of theories.
The aim of this workshop is to demonstrate the relevance of accounting history; to encourage participation in this genre of research; to describe various methods for carrying out accounting history research; to focus on how to publish historical research; and to provide an opportunity to establish networks and identify mentors and co-authors. Attendees will also have the opportunity to receive feedback on their research ideas and projects.
The one-day workshop will begin with an overview of accounting history methods and practice and an introduction to the Accounting History Special Interest group, followed by sessions on:
· Carrying out accounting history research.
· How to find primary sources.
· How to find secondary sources.
· Writing-up historical research: what should you include?
· How to publish accounting history in leading journals.
· Feedback on your ideas and projects (small group session)
The workshop is suitable for anyone considering beginning historical accounting research and anyone currently working in this area.
Full Ticket: £55 Reduced Rate for PhD Students Only: £25
The fee includes lunch.
Buying a workshop ticket registers you for this event. Tickets to BAFA conferences are only available to members. To purchase a ticket, log in to your account on the BAFA Membership Portal (https://members.bafa.ac.uk/) and click the ‘Purchase Tickets’ button. Select the appropriate ticket for the event you want to attend, and follow instructions.
The Adam Smith Business School is looking for a Research Associate to make a leading contribution to the project: The Making of a Lopsided Union: Economic Integration in the European Economic Community, 1957-1992 (EURECON) led by Professor Emmanuel Mourlon-Druol (See http://e-mourlon-druol.com/eurecon/ and Explanatory Document for more details). Specifically, the job requires expert knowledge in the area of post-war international/European economic and business history. Contribute to the formulation and submission of research publications and research proposals and help manage and direct complex and challenging project(s) as opportunities allow.
This post is full time with funding up to 18 months in the first instance.
For more information and to apply online: Click here
Inquire Capitalism seeks to both unify information about corporate archives and also to connect scholars, archivists, and businesses by making information about company archives more discoverable. In addition, the researchers collecting the information about company archives have focused on finding out what is the digital presence of companies’ history, whether through digital archives or by having heritage sites and chronologies as part of the company’s website. The database contains information mostly about the United States, but the team at the University of Florida plans to continue expanding the list by including information from other parts of the world. Inquire Capitalism has counted with the partnership of the German Historical Institute in Washington D.C. and the Hagley Museum and Library to start the project and wishes to create new partners to make this list global and even more useful. Comments and new contributions are most appreciated and welcomed. Please contact the team by emailing to email@example.com.
I would be thrilled to know what you think of the project. I am also writing to find out if you would be willing to hear more about how we created it and how we intend to make it permanent. It would be great if we can find a way to maybe integrate it as part of one of your working projects, or possibly discuss a way to (once again) pursue research grants opportunities so that this resource can become even more useful and internationally generated and powered.
My best, Paula Paula A. de la Cruz-Fernández, Ph.D. Historiadora, Administradora de Patrimonio || Historian, Heritage Manager
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.