New article on History Reframing Institutional Logics

 And we are happy to announce another great contribution to the ongoing debate on organizational history:

PRACTICE, SUBSTANCE AND HISTORY: REFRAMING INSTITUTIONAL LOGICS

  1. Alistair Mutch
    Nottingham Business School, Nottingham trent University, Nottingham, NG1 4BU, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  1. Correspondence: Alistair Mutch, Email: alistair.mutch@ntu.ac.uk

Abstract

The characterization by Roger Friedland of institutional logics as a combination of substance and practices opens the door to a more complex reading of their influence on organizational life. His focus suggests attention to feelings and belief as much as cognition and choice. This article uses history to develop these ideas by paying attention to the perennial features of our embodied relations with the world and other persons. Historical work draws our attention to neglected domains of social life, such as play, which can have profound impacts on organizations. The study of history suggests that such institutions have a long run conditioning influence that calls into question accounts that stress individual agential choice and action in bringing about change. Analytical narratives of the emergence of practices can provide the means to combine the conceptual apparatus of organization theory with the attention to temporality of history.

  • Received September 10, 2015.
  • Revision received May 9, 2017.
  • Accepted May 12, 2017.
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New article on MOH

History Research in Management and Organization Studies

Editors’ Picks: History Research in Management and Organization Studies

Edited by Gabrielle Durepos and Albert J Mills

Introduction

This Editors’ Picks provides an occasion to celebrate the momentum that doing history research in management and organization studies (MOS) has gained since the calls for more history in the early 1990s (Zald, 1993, 1996; Kieser, 1994; Üsdiken and Kieser, 2004). Organization is an especially appropriate venue to do so given the dedication of the journal to disseminating critically oriented scholarship. The initial calls for more history work in MOS suggested, in varying ways (empirical, epistemological) and degrees, that doing history could act as a vehicle for critique. Indeed the articles selected for this Editors’ Picks are not only evidence of the growing momentum for more history in MOS but each in its own vein engenders history as a vehicle for critique. The theme is exemplified well by Cooke (1999) who provides a critical reconstruction of the Management of Change literature with a focus on redressing the silences surrounding the role of the ideological left in the disciplines’ own accounts of its past. In his assertion that all management and organization theory is shaped by past processes and are nonetheless viewed through a political lens formed by contemporary concerns, Cooke calls for greater awareness in the historical construction of representations of management and organization theory. Though Cooke (1999) does not use the terms ‘critical history,’ his article teaches us that a ‘critical history’ (as envisioned today) might imply acknowledging the historicity of management theory as a precondition for taking responsibility to change its (self- )representations that are uncontested, naturalized and un-reflexive.

To read the full introduction, please click here.

Resource on management history

I have just come across this new YouTube channel (thanks to Scott Taylor) about the History of Management.

New History of Management channel is a repository for videos that look at the history of management in new and interesting ways in order to encourage thinking differently about management and management education today. It is named after the book A New History of Management, written by Stephen Cummings, Todd Bridgman, John Hassard & Michael Rowlinson, which will be published by Cambridge University Press later in 2017.

 

New article: Routines & History

At OHN we are very pleased to announce that Alistair Mutch, one of our long time EGOS Standing Working Group 8 participants, has published an insightful piece in Organization Studies recently (now available via Advance Online). In the acknowledgements he particularly credits this stream as having helped him develop the ideas presented in his article. It’s great to see research from the track getting published. Personally I can only agree with Alistair’s sentiment that SWG8 has been very influential and supportive for me in developing my research, and it is truly a shame that 2016 will be last year of the Standing Working Group. Nevertheless, hopefully we will be seeing a series of single year tracks on history, starting at Copenhagen 2017!

Bringing History into the Study of Routines: Contextualizing Performance

Alistair Mutch

Abstract

The focus on routines as ‘generative systems’ often portrays them as patterns of action relatively divorced from their context. History can help to supply a deeper and richer context, showing how routines are connected to broader structural and cultural factors. But it also shows that routines themselves have a history. This is explored using the illustration of the history of one particular organizational routine, that of the visitation of local organizational units by central church bodies, in three times and places: 15th century Italy, 18th century England and 18th century Scotland. This illustration shows that similar routines can be found but these are given very different inflections by the broader social, cultural and political context. Attention is drawn in particular to the differential involvement of lay actors and the implications for broader impacts. The case is made for analytical narratives of emergence of routines which can reconnect organizational routines both with their own history and with their broader context.

Marie S Curie fellows at Aston Business School

Aston is currently looking for external researchers to work with on Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships. The current deadline for applications is 14th September 2016, with the next call opening in April 2016.

 

 

Eligible Researchers

  • The Funder requires that the researchers shall be in possession of a doctoral degree or have at least four years of full-time equivalent research
  • At the time of the deadline for submission, they shall not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc) in the country of their host organisation for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to 14th September

Preferred Researcher Profile

  • Experience suggests that successful researcher have strong CV’s, with 10+ strong publications (high- ranking, international journals) and a good range of experience (teaching, industry/non-academic, PhD supervision).

The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships enable eligible applicants to come to Aston University for a period from 12 to 24 months; the aims are to undertake world class research, undertake career development, and transfer knowledge. If you have the time, read the Guide for Applicants, it will enable you to fully appreciate the aims and objectives of the scheme –  http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/portal/doc/call/h2020/h2020-msca-if-2014/1600147-  guide_for_applicants_if_2014_en.pdf

If you are interested please contact Prof Stephanie Decker (s.decker@aston.ac.uk). Send a description of your potential theme, Aston host and a description of the potential project (please keep the description to no more than 250 words), accompanied by your full academic CV to r.knobbs@aston.ac.uk .

The current deadline is 14th September 2016. If you are interested you must send the requested documents by the end of July for this call.

The internet of historical things

The end of October has seen some historical revelations in the media. On the historic date of 21 October 2015, the very day on which Marty McFly arrived in a future USA full of hover boards and self-tying shoe laces (even though mobile phones and iPads are conspicuous by their absence…) in “Back to the Future Part 2”, a more prescient detail was revealed by the movies’ writer, Bob Gale. The movie franchise’s baddy, Biff, was apparently based on Donald Trump, who in 2015 uses his commercial and political power for evil purposes (see The Guardian). Sorry, which one are we talking about?

October was also the month in which women in the UK may have been made aware for the first time that having periods is considered a luxury pursuit. “The Great Tampon Insurrection has been a long time brewing”, according to Helen Lewis, who gleefully discussed the ins and outs of the parliamentary debate about abolishing VAT on sanitary products.

A tax system that lets someone dine on crocodile steak on their private jet without paying a penny, when we cannot survive a period without the Treasury taxing us for it, cannot be a fair one. (Paula Sherriff, MP)

Needless to say, historical inequities have been upheld, and one half of the population will continue to pay tax on golden tampax and other such luxury items.

Turning to more academic pursuits, I only recently came across Dr Scott Taylor’s blogs on The Conversation, which comments on a lot of aspects of organizational politics  and inequality in some of Britain’s “institutions” – from University Challenge to the NHS. I can’t say that I am that well-versed in the blogosphere, but this is one of a number of blogs that I like. In organizational history, a great blog is The Past Speaks, run by Dr Andrew Smith, about all things historical – and Canadian! For those interested in global and imperial history, colleagues at Exeter University run the excellent Imperial & Global Forum. And for those with a more economic history bend, there is NEP-HIS, a discussion service for historical papers distributed through the NEP list. Another interesting network is a Canadian project called the Sociology of Management Knowledge, which, among other things, looks at Canadian identity and history in management theorizing.

But this is probably not all there is out there that is of interest to organizational historians. So if you are aware of other resources, do let us know!