EGOS 2019


I grew up in Cambridge, which isn’t exactly a dump, but even so, Edinburgh’s lovely, isn’t it? I think it’s probably the scale that does it. There are just streets and streets of the stuff: beautiful buildings, intriguing curiosities, well stocked pubs…the weather isn’t even that bad at this time of year. If you’ve not already guessed, the 35th EGOS Colloquium was held in Edinburgh last week and, in addition to the very pleasant location, it was well stocked with plenty of history-related content.

Billed under the theme of Enlightening the Future, the conference organisers juxtaposed the enlightenment heritage of their host city with the ‘post-trust’ age, which society appears to be increasingly embracing. Along these lines, they asked how ‘political shifts, technological advancements, forms of interaction, and focus on personal interests may be re-framing the ways in which decisions are made in organisations.’ It was on these terms that the former-chancellor, Alistair Darling, opened the conference. He reflected on the financial crisis, the then Labour government’s response and the path that the UK and the rest of the world has followed subsequently. His message to the delegates was that political, and not economic issues have been the key impediment economic prosperity since the crisis.

Following the opening ceremony, the colloquium proper began, offering plenty for the historically-inclined organisational scholar. Sub-theme 48 set out to understand the historical forces underlying recent crises, introducing ‘historical-evolutionary organisation studies’ to theorise the link between backward-looking historical perspectives and forward-looking development. Additionally, there was a sub-plenary on Historic Turns: Objective, Rhetorical, and Retrospective, which saw speaker Candace Jones, Kate Kenny and Michael Rowlinson discuss importance of socio-historic context in understanding and interpreting organisations. Of course, the problem with such a packed programme, was the inevitable clashes that it created. As it was, I was enrolled on Sub-theme 30Realising the Potential of Historical Organisation Studies, and it was here that I spent the majority of time over the next few days.

Introducing the sub-theme, conveners Stewart Clegg, Mairi Maclean, Roy Suddaby, and Charles Harvey expressed the rise of historical organisation studies as being part of a wave, with exciting developments and momentum coming at express pace. What was needed now, they argued, was for us to compound the sense of community that had developed and lay the foundations for the field’s coherence and continued growth. Moreover, while history and organisation studies had been expressed through the linking of two separate worlds, it was time to bring them together in practice. With that, a sub-theme programme was chosen that moved away from ‘separate world’ theorising, instead undertaking the ‘getting down and doing’ of historical organisation studies.

The first day saw parallel streams in theory, institutional entrepreneurship, and rhetorical history. Gabrielle Durepos kicked off proceedings in the theory session with a presentation of work done with Russ Vince on reflexivity in historical organisation studies. Their focus here was on the under-appreciated importance of emotion in relation to historical actors, using the example of corporatisation of higher education. The institutional entrepreneurship session followed with papers on legitimacy acquisition in relation to Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Baig and Godley) and the strategic use of aesthetic innovation and its impact on the wider market (Eisenman and Simons). These were followed with a presentation by Mairi Maclean on the link between Hilton’s international expansion and US post-war foreign policy (with Harvey and Suddaby). It was interesting here to hear about how Conrad Hilton deployed rhetoric in framing unknown variables in manner that represented them as relative certainties.

Following enjoyable parties hosted by Bath, CBS and others, the next morning was opened with a second session of rhetorical history, and one on institutions. Attending the latter, I heard stimulating presentations on the legacy of the fraternal ‘golden age’ in compounding the normativity of racial divides, as well the use of ‘crux’ classification within the Bordeaux wine region. While diverse in topic, both papers showed well the value an historical perspective can bring to understanding institutions in their contested and changing form. In addition to work Stephanie Decker and myself presented on digital history, the next session saw papers on the use of corporate archives for since-making by managers (Andrew Smith) and the potential of critical discourse analysis in linking the sociological and the historical (Huber, Bernardi and Iordanou). Before a second round of sub-plenaries, there were also sessions of memory and politics, dealing in turn with the pasts impact on parliamentary and political structures and the role memory plays in wider social life.

The final morning was initiated with papers on processes and boundaries, and entrepreneurship, before a final set of sessions on businesses interface with the public sector and the organisation of religion. Given it was both a Saturday morning and there had been much parting the evening before, it was great to see so many delegates engaging fully in these final sessions of the conference. Indeed, despite the intellectual fatigue that can set in towards the end such events, these sessions stimulated some of the most interesting discussions of the three days. It is testament to both the effort and execution of the organisers that the sub-theme generated such excellent feedback and discussion, and I know that presenters and audiences alike found it a thoroughly valuable experience. Mairi, Stewart, Roy and Charles should be congratulated along with EGOS for putting on a fine event, and must be thanked for all their efforts in bringing it to fruition.

Are you attending an event relevant to business or organisational history this summer? We’re always looking for volunteers to write reports for the network. We would particularly love to hear from anyone interested in providing content for the upcoming AoM and EBHA conferences. For further enquiries, please contact Adam Nix (adam.nix@dmu.ac.uk).

Radical business

For those not socialised into its norms and traditions, Oxford’s exam season can make for a somewhat bewildering spectacle. As it was for me when I arrived in the city last Thursday to find the practice of ‘trashing’ in full swing outside my hotel. Looking on with bemusement, I was told that it had historically involved the barraging of gown-clad undergraduates with eggs, flower, and even fish entrails as they left their last exams. Though officially now banned by the University, a more sanitised version is still widely practiced today, with shaving foam, confetti and other mostly harmless ordnance the worst one can expect. Standing there, it occurred to me that the modernised persistence of this nineteen-century tradition had more than a passing relevance to the symposium I had come to attend. However, I was already pushing my luck and, not wanting to become collateral, I manoeuvred around some particularly dramatic casualties and retreated into my hotel.

The next morning, the students had gone, and I headed to the Bodleian’s Weston Library in glorious midsummer conditions to register for the Radical Business Symposium. Generously funded by RBC Foundation and the Bodleian’s Centre for the Study of the Book, the Symposium’s agenda set out a day focused on the contestation and evolution of social norms over time, particularly in the context of businesses and their relationship to wider society. As the organiser, David Smith, noted to me afterwards “the event featured different disciplines exploring how business and culture change each other — often in surprising ways. During a time when business is increasingly expected to lead or respond to cultural issues, this area of research is especially timely.”

The first session, embedding and transforming social norms, was kicked off by Heidi Tworek, who discussed the role German news agencies played distributing political rhetoric throughout their international networks. Focusing particularly on Alfred Hugenberg’s Telegraph Union, it was fascinating to hear how a blend of political and commercial aims ultimately contributed the media mogul losing control of his empire, when the Nazi party he’d worked to install subsumed national media activities. Following this, David Smith gave a paper on CSR and its links to Christian ethics, highlighting the efforts of Howard Bowen in promoting levels of professional ‘best practice’ before more neoliberal agendas stripped CSR of its normative basis. The session was rounded off with a report by Pegram Harrison on the contestation of purpose faced by museums. Here, he showed how the leaders of such institutions must increasingly manage a ‘trilemma’ of cultural, commercial and community responsibilities in order to meet their brief.

Pegram Harrison

After a coffee break, the next session focused on the relationship between business and national interests, starting with a paper by Aled Davies on UK ‘invisible exports’. His work here showed how the presence of particular skills and capabilities helped promote London’s rise to global financial power, complementing the UK’s already well-established industrial presence. Following this, Neil Forbes gave an analysis of how BP’s commercial interests co-existed with the national interests of the UK, ultimately illustrating well how taxation policy does not have to conflict with business. To round off the morning, James Hollis then showed how the offshore economy owes its origins to the blockade and later reparations imposed on Germany during the First World War. Here, a network of underground commercial links between Germany and neutral nations provided an important solution to sanctions during the war itself and flags of convenience mitigated the liability of owning German registered ships in its aftermath.

James Hollis

The afternoon session on corruption and stigma was kicked off by Stephanie Decker and myself, discussing some of our work on Enron and the California energy crisis. Following this, Lola Wilhelm gave a fascinating account of Nestle’s initial efforts to create a baby food market in Africa, showing how its reputation was originally that of a progressive, post-natal medical champion, rather than the later toxic links relating to this aspect of its past. Will Pettigrew finished the session by showing how corporations of the early modern period managed issues of fraud, focusing particularly on the agency problems European businesses encountered during their overseas interests. He pointed out here that, rather than instilling the European institutions upon in the East, adaptive policy changes were driven by more commercial experience in overseas, which was disseminated back into Europe.

Changing organisational norms occupied the final session of the day, and Anne Murphy started with a paper elaborating the Bank of England’s efforts to self-reform, acting before external parties moved to bring their house in order for them. Following this, Michael Weatherburn showed the value historical consultancy represents to business and government, presenting as an example his recent work analysing social and economic forecasting. Finally, Alan Morrison provided a thought-provoking paper on the movement of investment banks from relational to technocratic trading, presenting the concept of ‘braiding’ to explain the somewhat problematic coexistence of trust-based and contract-based norms in the balancing of customers and firm interests.

Concluding the symposium, David Vines drew upon several of the day’s presentations to illustrate how the changing nature of social norms was influenced by the repeated games played by individuals during their day-to-day lives. In addition to noting how norms change expectations over time, he highlighted the inverse relationship, where expectations represent a self-fulling prophesy for normative change. Following the session papers, the symposium members retired for drinks, which concluded a most successful and thought-provoking day. For this, thanks must go to colloquium organisers for arranging such a stimulating and well managed event. 

Are you attending an event relevant to business or organisational history this summer? We’re always looking for volunteers to write reports for the network. We would particularly love to hear from anyone interested in providing content for the upcoming AoM and EBHA conferences. For further enquiries, please contact Adam Nix (adam.nix@dmu.ac.uk).

Workshop on the history of investment diplomacy

On Monday, 24 June, Lauge Poulsen (University College London) and Jason Yackee (University of Wisonsin) hosted an interdisciplinary workshop at Goodenough College focusing on the intersection between history, international law, and international political economy. The day started with a joint paper by Marcelo Bucheli and Stephanie Decker (i.e. me) comparing historical cases of expropriation in Latin America and Africa in the twentieth century.

We continued with Jason Yackee’s paper on French Investor Protection in Congo-Brazzaville during the Cold War, which demonstrated that political solutions to reconciling host and home country interest with investor interests after expropriations were sometimes effective (if slow), even in relatively complex cases such as the sugar industry.

After a morning focusing on historical cases of expropriation, the afternoon opened with an empirically rich paper on the role of US American interventions in Latin America in the early twentieth century, when the US took over customs houses in a number of South American countries, starting with the Dominican Republic. As a tool to engender peace, stability and better revenue collection, the outcomes were perhaps more mixed than what the US politicians and investors expected. While countries became less likely to experience violent conflict and regime change, trade did not increase and fiscal revenues actually declined.

The workshop concluded with Geoffrey Gertz’s (Brookings Institute) planned book on how the US diplomats learned to love commercial diplomacy after decades of considering it lowly and uninteresting work. However, whether this focus on supporting US business interests abroad will continue to be central to US American foreign policy is in question now, due to the high number of vacancies in the State Department in addition to funding cuts under the Trump administration, which has led to a hollowing out of capacity.

The workshop was a great example of how interdisciplinary and international research connects past and present issues in the international political economy.

Unlocking Archives – Unilever Historical Archives

Yesterday, Unilever kindly hosted (with additional support from the University of Liverpool) a workshop showcasing the amazing material that can be found within business archives. It was a really great day to learn more about how different researchers are using the collections and the great work by archivist who make all of this accessible to the public.

Keynote by Valerie Johnson, Director of Research, The National Archives

Business archives – a bit of a passion killer?

Valerie Johnson opened her keynote by highlighting that business archives are often seen as dull and uninteresting – to the point she was once told by a conference organizers that he had not expected her research talk about business archives to be so interesting. Nothing could not be further from the truth. For almost any subject of interest to researchers, business archives have materials, as companies were often spearheading new developments (e.g. technology), were embedded in social and cultural trends of the day (e.g. the culture of imperialism), design history (e.g. in the Board of Trade archives) to name but a few.

In a whistle stop tour through a wide range of archives, Johnson illustrated the history of women at work through an architectural map in the ING Barings Archive, and the representations of empire in the textiles archive of John Lewis, and the United Africa Company trademarks at Unilever Historical Archives.

To get a better sense of what Unilever Historical Archives do, see their
Instagram site: https://www.instagram.com/unileverarchives/

Johnson closed by reiterating that business records offer magnificent materials and insights into society, technology and attitudes of the past, not just the records of business operations in the narrow sense. So she closed with highlighting the importance of:

Putting the passion back into business archives!

Snippets from archival research

The day continued with wide-ranging research presentations. The morning opened with Jeanette Strickland introducing the audience to William Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers (one half of the original Unilever), a formidable businessmen and somewhat of a micro-manager.

This was followed by Frank Thorpe, University of Liverpool, talking about advertising and beyond. His presentation is based on his doctoral thesis that investigates the changing attitudes towards personal hygiene, or “BO”, and how
products like deodorant were gendered and stigmatized at times. At Unilever, he
has researched uncatalogued material, but also used a range of online newspaper
archives to understand the context within which these adverts appeared.

Ronnie Hughes offered a different view on Port Sunlight, the location of the Unilever factory and archives, where the workshop took place, by asking a key question:

What must it have been like to live in someone else’s utopia 100 years after they died?

Walking through Port Sunlight village in the morning before the workshop, this is not unlike the question we asked ourselves – would we actually like to live here,
as beautiful as it is? As a heritage site, it has a very distinct and unique
feel, which is unlike other neighbourhoods. Hughes highlights that he has asked
communities questions about what their perfect place would look like before
starting this research project. He blogs at A Sense of Place.

Prof Matt Reed finished the morning session by outlining his search for the ‘origin story’ of the collaboration between Unilever and the University of Liverpool, which dates back to 1906, which was “multi-faceted and sporadic.”
Lever donated money to a number of departments, including Civic Design and town planning. The Department of Industrial Chemistry was particularly well aligned with Lever’s business interests. Reed finished with a reflection of the value
of searching archives versus the self-taught googling that passes for research
outside of archives.

A fascinating tour of the archives at lunchtime that featured highlights such as Marmite pants.

The afternoon sessions kicked off with Dr Rory Miller’s exploration of why David Fieldhouse’s Unilever Overseas is missing a chapter on Latin America – apparently he fell out with his research assistant. 25 years ago, Miller first visited the Unilever archives to find out what was actually available on Unilever’s business in Argentina and beyond. Perusing the directors’ visiting reports, he outlined how Argentinians rarely bought Lifebuoy soap other than to wash their dogs.

In her talk about the design process, Dr Lee Wright highlighted the potential importance of archives for the design practice and the sourcing of design ideas. In her teaching, students reference the past through images they source from Pinterest, highlighting the significance of social media sites in mediating our visual understanding of the past.

The day closed with two fascinating talks, the first by Prof Iain Jackson about the development of urban architecture in Accra, Ghana in the mid-twentieth century. While the National Archives had more material on the European settlements of Accra, within other archives, such as the United Africa Company collection at Unilever, mercantile areas such as Jamestown are much better documented. Some of his collected images are available in an online book available via issuu.com (search “Accra”) here.

The workshop closed with Claire Tunstall describing their mission and how the archives has to serve many different stakeholders: internal divisions, brands and communications, outreach with schools, partnership with museums and universities and, of course, the Port Sunlight Village Trust, as well as researchers.

Hopefully, more such events, at Unilever or other major archives, will take place in the future. The workshop did not just have great presentations but also offered great opportunities to meet a wide variety of people interested in using and promoting archives.

Conference programme

10 am Registration Tea & coffee  
10.20 Welcome, introductory remarks and housekeeping
– Claire Tunstall and Jeannette Strickland    
10.30 Keynote Dr Valerie Johnson, Director of Research & Collections, The National Archives “What’s the use? Your research and business archives”
10.50 Q&A    
11.00 Refreshments    
11.15-12.30 Session 1 Chair: Prof Stephanie Decker, Aston University
11.15 Jeannette Strickland, Department of History, University of Liverpool, “Finding William Lever, the man behind the myth”
11.30 Frank Thorpe, Department of History, University of Liverpool, “Beyond the ad: filling gaps and finding new gaps”
11.45 Ronnie Hughes, Department of Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology, University of Liverpool, “Looking for Utopia”
12.00 Dr Matt Reed, Strategy Director, Materials Innovation Factory, University of Liverpool, “Turn every page”
12.15 Q&A    
12.30-2.00 Lunch
Tours of Unilever Archives available at 12.45 and 1.10                                                    
2.00-3.00 Session 2 – Chair: Dr Valerie Johnson, The National Archives
2.10 Dr Rory Miller, formerly Reader in the Management School, University of Liverpool, “The Missing Chapter in David Fieldhouse’s Unilever Overseas: Unilever’s Expansion in Latin America in the Mid-Twentieth Century”
2.30 Dr Lee Wright, Senior Lecturer in the History and Theory of Design, Liverpool School of Art and Design, Liverpool John Moores University, “The value of archives and their potential to impact current design practice”
2.50 Q&A    
3.05 Refreshments    
3.20-4.20 Session 3 – Chair: Jeannette Strickland, University of Liverpool
3.20 Prof Iain Jackson, School of Architecture, University of Liverpool, “Traders, speculators, taste makers: the United Africa Company in Ghana”
3.40 Claire Tunstall, Head of Art, Archives & Records Management, Unilever plc, “The research potential of Unilever Archives”
4.00 Q&A  
4.20 Summing up and closing remarks  
4.30 Optional post-workshop drink at the Bridge Inn in Port Sunlight

Unlocking Unilever Archives workshop

Unlocking Unilever Archives workshop

Thursday 20 June 2019 Port Sunlight

You are invited to join us in this exploration of the research potential of Unilever’s collections.The full day programme will open with a keynote speech from Valerie Johnson, Director of Research & Collections, The National Archives (TNA), on the value of business archives and the role that TNA can play in helping to facilitate collaborative research projects.

The morning will continue with presentations from four doctoral students who represent a range of disciplines at the University of Liverpool and whose study involves research in Unilever’s archives, whilst the afternoon will feature four academics who have already explored the research potential of Unilever’s collections. Lunch will be provided, tours of Unilever Archives will be on offer and there will be ample opportunity
for networking and discussion of possible future projects.

For more details email archives@unilever.com

Symposium on Radical Business

Radical Business?

SYMPOSIUM, 28 June 2019

Radical Business? Business and the Contest over Social Norms

Lecture Theatre, Weston Library
9 am to 4:30 pm

Conveners: David Chan Smith and Rowena Olegario

This one-day symposium at the Weston Library brings together an interdisciplinary group of speakers to offer insights into how business has acted as a radical force to upset and replace social norms over time. Whether seeking to normalize new products and services, such as autonomous vehicles, or reacting to environmental or safety concerns, business is engaged in a constant negotiation with larger cultural codes. Speakers will discuss the consequences of this contest over social norms, including ethical as well as strategic implications. By bringing together researchers from across disciplines, the symposium will also explore common conceptual ground to understand the significance of this problem for the history of capitalism and management.

 

All are welcome to attend, but please RSVP.

David Smith is Associate Professor, Department of History, Wilfrid Laurier University, and is the Royal Bank of Canada-Bodleian Visiting Fellow at the Bodleian Libraries during Trinity Term 2019.

Presented in association with the Oxford Centre for Global History, Global History of Capitalism project, Faculty of History, University of Oxford

Confirmed speakers:

Aled Davies, University of Oxford
Stephanie Decker, Aston University
Neil Forbes, Coventry University
James Hollis, University of Oxford
Mary Johnstone-Louise, University of Oxford
Alan Morrison, University of Oxford
Anne Murphy, University of Hertfordshire
Adam Nix, De Montfort University
Will Pettigrew, University of Lancaster
David Chan Smith, Wilfrid Laurier University
Heidi Tworek, University of British Columbia
Michael Weatherburn, Imperial College London
Lola Wilhelm, University of Oxford

GHC logo

CHORD workshop

The CHORD (Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution) workshop on: ‘Retailing and Community: The Social Dimensions of Commerce in Historical Perspective’ will take place at the University of Wolverhampton, UK on May 9, 2019.

The programme, together with abstracts, registration details and further information, can be found here: https://retailhistory.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/community/

The programme includes:

Alistair Kefford, University of Leicester, UK
Civic Visions of Consumerism? Post-1945 British Planning and the Reorganisation of Urban Retailing

Grace Millar, University of Wolverhampton, UK
‘The grocer carried me for three months’: Understanding shop credit during extended strikes and lockouts

Pierre Botcherby, University of Warwick, UK
Representing local interests in post-industrial town centre regeneration: a case study of St. Helens, Merseyside

Marjorie Gehrhardt, University of Reading, UK
Salvation Army stores, 1890-1914: charitable or commercial ventures?

George Gosling, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Charity shops and commercial traders: a history of rivalry or collaboration?

Triona Fitton, University of Kent, UK
Blurring boundaries: ‘The Gift’ reimagined in the contemporary British charity shop

Ian Mitchell, University of Wolverhampton, UK
Much more than a Store: Co-ops in northern and midland England, 1870-1914

Cath Feely, University of Derby, UK
‘Certainly nothing half so revealing exists in documentary form’: The Local Newsagent in Interwar Britain

Tim Alen, Plunkett Foundation, UK
A proposal from Plunkett Foundation on the story of community shops

The workshop will take place in room Room MH108-9, Mary Seacole (MH) Building, City Campus, University of Wolverhampton.

The fee is £20

For further information and to register, please see the workshop web-pages, at: https://retailhistory.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/community/

Or contact Laura Ugolini, at: L.Ugolini@wlv.ac.uk

Information about CHORD events can also be found here: www.wlv.ac.uk/chord

CfP on History and Business Storytelling

Call for Papers on History and Business Storytelling

Volume Editor: Albert J. Mills (albert.mills@smu.ca)

  As part of the series “A World Scientific Encyclopedia of Business Storytelling” (edited by David Boje and Regents Professor), contributions are sought for a proposed volume on History and Business Storytelling (with a submissions delivery date of January 15, 2021).

In the words of David Boje, the overall series seeks “to extend new theories of prospective sensemaking, quantum storytelling (how humans are connected to the environment, not separate), and the relation of narrative-counter narrative dialectics to dialogic webs of multiplicity.” To that end, the series seeks “new business story paradigms that go beyond mere social constructivism, short-term shareholder wealth maximization, and disembodied textual narratives to the work in embodiment, critical accounts for the voiceless and marginalized, socioeconomic storytelling for socially responsible capitalism, and true storytelling principles as an alternative to fake news and fake leadership that infects the old business storytelling paradigm.” Boje and Rosile (in press) are attempting to bring together a critical ‘Storytelling Science’ paradigm.

At first sight it may appear that business and storytelling are two very different endevours; one involving a series of activities to produce services, products, profits, etc., and the other involving the use of tales to explain and make sense of innumerable social activities (Weick, 1995). More often than not, the two are aligned as those involved in business activities seek to explain and support those activities. Examples at the individual level include stories of the `self-made’ man (sic), the characteristics of the successful entrepreneur (Weber, 1967), the transformational leader (Mittal & Dhar, 2015), etc. At the company level examples include corporate histories of successful activities that explain how the company has remained in business over time and the use of artefacts of the past to lend a sense of history to the company’s operations (Corke, 1986; Gunn, 1985). At the industry (or field) level there are accounts that serve to explain such things as the link between strategy (Chandler, 1977), other practices (Pugh & Hickson, 1976; Woodward, 1958) and organizational survival, legitimacy, efficiencies, etc., (DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). And at the overall socio-economic level there are numerous accounts valuing the economic, political, and philosophical outcomes of capitalism (Burnham, 1941; Chandler, 1984; Drucker, 1939, 1942; Fukuyama, 2006).

Although not uncontested, these various tales of business have collectively served over time to privilege for-profit organizations (Donaldson, 1985; McQuaid, 1994) as the model of economic organization, philosophy, and politics (Drucker, 1947); as the primary and favoured form of organizing economic life (Drucker, 1939); as the main or only legitimate form of organization control and management (Hayek, 1944). In the process business and capitalism became interwoven in ways that cast owner (Marx, 1999), manager (Burnham, 1941), employee (Jacques, 1996) and the market (Burns & Stalker, 1961) as central forms of organizational activity and thought (Bendix, 1974). It has not also shaped the character of business activity but the characters at the heart of those activities, namely, white, upper-class, Western men (Acker, 1990; Jacques, 1997; Prasad, 2012).

Beneath, in tandem with, and/or a reflection on, tales from the field of business there has been another formidable set of stories that has helped to shape the notion of business; namely, the field of business studies (Khurana, 2007). Arguably, the development of business studies as a field of enquiry not only reproduced tales from the field but drew on it to define business studies as a specific area of scientific enquiry; one linked to the professionalization of the business manager (Khurana, 2007). In the process, the field of business studies largely excluded alternative modes of organizing (Foster, Mills, & Weatherbee, 2014; Parker, 2002; Weick, 1995).  Paradoxically, in the quest for scientific legitimacy (Khurana, 2007), one of the most successful attempts to teach business studies has been the advent of the Harvard University case study method (Copeland, 1958; McDonald, 2017). Here we have an essentially fictional account of a business problem written in a way that is presented to the reader (the potential manager) as a `real life’ situation with scientifically established behavioural outcomes. Regardless of how it was intended, the central character is more-often-than-not presented as a white male who is primarily interested in profitability, efficiency and the bottom line. In other words, it is not only scenarios that are constructed but people who are privileged, ignored and/or marginalized.

In much of these accounts of business, history – either implicitly or explicitly – is drawn on for support and legitimacy (Rowlinson & Hassard, 1993). This ranges from corporate histories of selected businesses (Smith, 1986) or classes of business (Wilkins, 1974) through to histories of the field (George, 1968; Khurana, 2007; Urwick, 1956; Wren, 1972). Over recent years there have been calls not only for more historical analyses in management and organization studies (Clark & Rowlinson, 2004) but also for greater discussion of historical methods (Booth & Rowlinson, 2006; Bowden, 2016, 2018), opening up possibilities for new narratives of business (Cummings, Bridgman, Hassard, & Rowlinson, 2017; Durepos & Mills, 2012; Williams & Mills, 2017).

This volume on ‘History and Business Storytelling’ will provide insights into stories fostering the idea of business, including, but not limited to:

  • the relationship between historical methods and business storytelling (Cummings et al., 2017)
  • the processes through which certain business stories are developed  (Durepos, 2015)
  • revisiting classic tales (Hassard, 2012)
  • re-envisioning the field through alternative narratives (Foster et al., 2014)
  • uses and abuses of storytelling in business (Suddaby, Foster, & Trank, 2010)
  • business narratives and voices from the South (Prasad, 2003)
  • Historical methods as business narratives (White, 1987)
  • Antenarratives  (Boje, 2010)
  • Case studies as narratives of business (Raufflet & Mills, 2009)
  • Business studies as tales of the field (Van Maanen, 1988)
  • Business storytelling and gendered narration (Calás & Smircich, 1996)
  • Business storytelling and intersectional characterization (Brah & Phoenix, 2004)
  • Narratives as organization (Czarniawska & Gagliardi, 2003)
  • Business archives as storytelling cache’s (Decker, 2013)

 

Chapters should explore stories/narratives used in the process of producing the idea of business. There is no methodological preference for this chapter and authors may use any forms of method ranging from positivist (Bowden, 2018)  to postmodernist (Boje, 1995).      

Submissions should be no more than thirty pages, double spaced, times new roman 12 font, with one-inch margins.  All questions regarding chapters should be directed to Albert J. Mills, volume editor (albert.mills@smu.ca). 

Proposals for chapters should be no more than three double spaced pages and are due on May 22, 2019.   

 

Acker, J. (1990). Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender & Society, 4(2), 139-158.

Bendix, R. (1974). Work and Authority in Industry. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Boje, D. M. (1995). Stories of the Storytelling Organization: A Postmodern Analysis of Disney as “Tamara-Land”. The Academy of Management Journal, 38(4), 997-1035.

Boje, D. M. (2010). Narrative Analysis. In A. J. Mills, G. Durepos, & E. Wiebe (Eds.), Sage Encyclopedia of Case Study Research (Vol. II, pp. 591-594). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Boje, D. M.; Rosile, G. A. (in press). Download at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bd297r9f6lhgjeh/AAChF7KdZH7hvz3aGIySrTJwa?dl=0

Booth, C., & Rowlinson, M. (2006). Management and organizational history: Prospects. Management & Organizational History, 1(1), 5-30.

Bowden, B. (2016). Editorial and note on the writing of management history. Journal of Management History, 22(2), 118-129. doi:10.1108/jmh-02-2016-0009

Bowden, B. (2018). Work, Wealth, & Postmodernism. The intellectual conflict at the heart of business endeavour. London: Palgrave.

Brah, A., & Phoenix, A. (2004). Ain’t I a woman? Revisiting intersectionality. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 5(3), 75-86.

Burnham, J. (1941). The Managerial Revolution. New York: Putnam.

Burns, T., & Stalker, G. (1961). The Management of Innovation. London.: Tavistock.

Calás, M. B., & Smircich, L. (1996). Not Ahead of her Time: Reflections on Mary Parker Follett as Prophet of Management. Organization, 3(1), 147-152. doi:10.1177/135050849631008

Chandler, A. D. (1977). The Visible Hand. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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Durepos, G., & Mills, A. J. (2012). ANTi-History: Theorizing the Past, History, and Historiography in Management and Organizational Studies. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing

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Theorizing from Qualitative Case Study Research

We would like to invite you to the upcoming event ‘Theorising from Qualitative Case Study Research’ run by BAM International Business and International Management SIG & Academy of International Business, UK & Ireland

Date and Time: Thursday 25th April 2019, 12:30pm-15:00pm
Location: University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RH
Event fee: Free

The aim of this workshop is to unpack the theorising potential of Qualitative Case Study Research. Emphasis will be placed on conducting Qualitative Case study Research under different philosophical orientations and its implications for theorising. In particular, the workshop with address the following questions:
• What is Qualitative Case Study Research?
• How do our paradigmatic assumptions shape Qualitative Case Study Research?
• How do we theorise from Qualitative Case Study Research?
We will critically reflect on these questions by bringing in Philosophy of Science and Methodological literatures. We will discuss the limitations of inductive theory-building, and explore the utilisation of alternative approaches to theorising that can enhance the Case Study’s explanatory power and potential for contextualisation

Speakers
Emmanuella Plakoyiannaki is Professor of International Business at Leeds University Business School. She is also the Co-Chair for the IB/IM SIG of the British Academy of Management (BAM). Emmanuella is committed to raising awareness about qualitative research and has delivered relevant seminars in various Universities throughout the world. Her research interests refer to qualitative research, language (in an IB context) as well as consumer behaviour. She has published in various academic journals including the Academy of Management Review, Journal of International Business Studies, Journal of World Business and Journal of Management Studies among others.

For more information and register your place, please go to: https://www.bam.ac.uk/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=357

Kind regards,

Linh

Linh Dang | Events Officer
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British Academy of Management, 137 Euston Road London, NW1 2AA, UK
T: +44 (0)2073 837 770 | eventsofficer@bam.ac.uk
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Workshop: Using History, Valuing Archives

Using History, Valuing Archives

Date of event: 28 February 2019
Event ends: 1 March 2019
Start time: 11:00
End time: 14:00

Using History, Valuing Archives

A workshop organised by the Centre for International Business History, and the Heritage and Creativity Institute for Collections

The question of how business organisations make use of their history has increasingly come to occupy the attention of organisational theorists and historians (Suddaby et al, 2010; Poor et al, 2016; Zundel et al, 2016; Foster, 2017; Smith and Simeone, 2017; Hatch and Schultz, 2017). Each firm’s history is unique to itself. As such, it can be classified as rare and inimitable. Provided historical records are appropriately stored and managed within an archive, then it can also be said to be organised. In such cases we can reasonably claim that a firm’s history meets three of the four elements identified by Barney (1991) as constituting a strategic resource. The only question that remains is whether it is deemed to be valuable.

Judging by the number of companies that have chosen to invest in constructing and publicising historical narratives about themselves, it would appear that for many executives the answer to this question is: yes. By ‘investment’, here, we are talking about more than the commissioning of corporate histories destined to take pride of place on the C-Suite coffee table. Increasingly it means the construction corporate museums, or visitor centres with historical collections (Stigliani and Ravassi, 2007). It is often manifested in the public celebration of notable company anniversaries or, more durably, in the incorporation of historical images and artefacts into the interior design of company head offices (Barnes and Newton, 2018). More conspicuously, it can involve mobilising historical narratives, characters or events to serve wider branding, advertising or public relations purposes (Lubinski, 2018).

The tendency to view history as a malleable strategic resource that can support wider corporate goals may be on the rise, but what does this mean for business archives themselves, the archivists who work in them, and the academic researchers who rely on them? There would clearly seem to be an opportunity here for archivists to demonstrate their strategic importance to their employers, and for historians to develop research projects that might be seen to deliver ‘impact’. But are there also reasons to be cautious? What are the implications of viewing history (and historical collections) as a strategic resource for the way in which archives are valued (and maintained)? Does it affect the types of materials that are likely to be preserved (or discarded)? Will it affect corporate policies regarding access to, and use of, historical records by non-company personnel – such as academic researchers?

This workshop brings together professional business archivists and historians to explore these questions. What does the future hold for the way in which companies use their past? If the strategic value of business archives is indeed to be increasingly recognised and utilised, what does this mean for the practices of archivists and historians, and for the conception of a business archive as a quasi-public resource?

Questions and issues to be addressed:

– The different ways in which organizations make use of their own archives / historical records (e.g. for internal and external purposes);

– Attempts to measure / quantify the value of historical resources (either in financial terms or some other way);

– The balance between ‘authenticity’ and ‘corporate strategy’ when constructing historical narratives (should/does the history follow from the strategy, or vice versa);

– The tension, if it exists, between a firm’s willingness to recognise the strategic or commercial value of its historical records, and its willingness to make such records available for public (including academic) scrutiny;

– The management and use of archival records that are held outside of their ‘parent’ organization, i.e. where management of a firm’s historical resources are outsourced;

– The preservation / management of company archives after a firm has ceased to exist.

 References

Barnes, V. and Newton, L. (2018), ‘Visualising organizational identity: the history of a capitalist enterprise’, Management and Organizational History, 13 (1), pp. 24-53.

Barney, J. (1991), ‘Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage’, Journal of Management, 17 (1), 99-120.

Foster, W.M., Coraiola, D.M., Suddaby, R., Kroezen, J, and Chandler, D. (2017), ‘The strategic use of historical narratives: a theoretical framework’, Business History, 59 (8), pp. 1176-1200.

Hatch, M. and Schultz, M. (2017), ‘Toward a theory of using history authentically: historicising in the Carlsberg Group’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 62 (4), pp. 657-697.

Lubinski, C. (2018), ‘From “history as told” to “history as experienced”: contextualizing the uses of the past’, Organization Studies, published online November 2018. DOI: 10.1177/0170840618800116

Poor, S., Novicevic, M., Humphreys, J.H. and Popoola, I.T.(2016), ‘Making history happen: a genealogical analysis of Colt’s rhetorical history’, Management and Organizational History, 11 (2), pp. 147-165.

Smith, A. and Simeone, D. (2017), ‘Learning to use the past: the development of a rhetorical history strategy by the London headquarters of the Hudson’s Bay Company’, Management and Organizational History, 12 (4), pp. 334-356.

Stigliani, I. and Ravassi, D. (2007), ‘Organizational artefacts and the expression of identity in corporate museums at Alfa-Romeo, Kartell, and Piaggio’. In L. Lin, D. Ravassi, J. Rekom and G. Soenen (eds.) Organizational Identity in Practice, New York: Routledge, pp. 197-214.

Suddaby, R., Foster, W.M., Trank, C.Q.(2010), ‘Rhetorical history as a source of competitive advantage’, Advances in Strategic Management, 27, pp. 147-73.

Zundel, M., Holt, R. and Popp, A. (2016), ‘Using history in the creation of organizational identity’, Management and Organizational History, 11 (2), pp. 211-235.

Contact Us

If you have any questions, please contact Daria Radwan by email at d.m.radwan@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0) 118 378 6597.

https://www.henley.ac.uk/events/using-history-valuing-archives-1