Information Ecosystems


24th Colloquium in the History of Management and Organizations

March 27th-29th 2019 in Nice

[Conference Website]

Organised by the French Association for the History of Management and Organizations (AHMO) and Université Côte d’Azur – EDHEC Business School, GREDEG (UMR 7321) and MSHS Sud-Est (USR 3566)

« Like pipes in a wall crucial to having running water in a home, the informational infrastructure was nearly invisible. Use of information proved so routine, indeed mundane, that like using a faucet or bathroom fixtures, people did not think about it, because it was always present. It is information’s pervasive, embedded nature that perhaps accounts for why we […] have not paid much attention to it. But now we should, because as happens, once a phenomenon is named or is made obvious, it becomes easier to optimize its use. »[1]

In his book on the history of information in the United States, James W. Cortada argues for the need to understand evolving characteristics of information ecosystems. Cortada defines these ecosystems as facilitators of three activities of our contemporary societies: ‘appreciating what needs to be understood, seeing how this understanding should be developed, and seeing how it could be used’[2].

Since World War II, the amount of information stored and processed in organisations has grown exponentially, giving rise to a new category of ‘knowledge workers’ performing in horizontal information structures[3]. Based on the assumption that each firm and each industry develop idiosyncratic knowledge, organisation and strategy scholars of the 1970s introduced information as a fourth factor of production. Then, in the 1980s, the information ‘revolution’ shook up traditional industrial structures with changes in competitive rules and the introduction of new forms of competitive advantage[4].

Since then, the use of information with respect to accounting, finance, personnel, prices, logistics or customers significantly expanded, especially with the increasing computerisation that helped people to better store, process and share information to improve strategic decisions[5]. These recent changes have led to new forms of science that became necessary to support professional managers’ decisions and to develop new knowledge-based approaches.

The 24th Colloquium in the History of Management and Organizations aims to generate a historical perspective to our understanding of the use of these different forms of information in organizations. Papers aligned with four sub-themes are particularly welcomed:

  • The evolution of the use of information for organisations: While accounting information is often considered as one of the first languages in organisations, other accounts (relative to finance, personnel, price, logistics and customers) appeared relevant to store with the aim to assist decisions and strategic choices made by firms. What have these evolutions been? For which types of information? And for what aim?  
  • The history of scientific knowledge and its diffusion in management and organisation studies: The rise of information in organisations has coincided with the professionalization of managers who express the need to formalise and transfer their managerial knowledge. The diffusion of knowledge in accounting[6], finance[7], marketing[8], human resources management[9], logistics[10] or strategy[11] has attracted the attention of scholars. What trajectories have taken these diffusions? For which type of knowledge? In which institutional contexts?
  • The account of information as an intangible asset in organisations: given the immaterial nature of information and tacit knowledge, the challenge to transform this asset in value creation has long questioned scholars. Currently, the idea to re-materialise or to make more visible these information infrastructures has led to new issues and to new research avenues aligned with sociological oriented approaches dealing with materiality in organisations. Concerns related to security and standardization could also be considered[12].
  • Digital transformation and new forms of value for information: Considered by some scholarsas a fourth industrial revolution, current digital transformation is seen as a phenomenon based on unprecedented technological changes such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things. The consequences of these technological innovations, despite being very uncertain regarding their social impacts,put the user at the heart of innovation processes providing value to personal data and disrupting traditional business models. To what extent are these current transformations part of a longer history of computer science and of management information systems[13]?

These sub-themes are non-exhaustive and given the main theme of the colloquium, pluridisciplinary research is particularly encouraged (within management studies or with other sciences such as computer science, law, sociology, economics, psychology, etc.).

../KeyNote/Cortada,JW.jpg

Keynote Speaker: James W. Cortada is a business historian and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota.  Dr. Cortada spent nearly 40 years working at IBM in sales, consulting, management and executive positions.  He is the author of both ICT management books and business history.  He is the author of All the Facts: A History of Information in the United States Since 1870 (2016) and IBM: The Rise and Fall and Reinvention of a Global Icon (2019).

Doctoral workshop

The Colloquium will start with a doctoral workshop organised on 27 March at EDHEC Business School. Ph.D. students who seek to present their work should send a ten-page document presenting research area (theme, research questions), theoretical framework, methodology, first results and main bibliographical references.

First- or second-year Ph.D. students or Ph.D. students incorporating a historical dimension in their dissertation in management are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Important deadlines

  • Submission of Papers: Short papers (3000 words) written either in English or French should be submitted no later than 14 December 2018. Full texts will be accepted.
  • Notification of Acceptance: Notification of papers accepted for inclusion in the conference program will be made by 25 January 2019.
  • Final version of papers(30,000 in 50,000 signs): 22 February 2019. Final papers should be written either in English or French with summaries in French and English.

Scientific Committee

Lise Arena, Université Côte d’Azur

Régis Boulat, Université de Haute-Alsace

Ludovic Cailluet, EDHEC Business School

Muriel Dalpont-Legrand, Université Côte d’Azur

Mathieu Floquet, Université de Lorraine

Patrick Fridenson, EHESS

Gérald Gaglio, Université Côte d’Azur

Eric Godelier, Ecole Polytechnique

Hélène Gorge, Université Lille 2-Skema Business School

Nicolas Guilhot, Université Lyon 3, IFROSS

Pierre Labardin, Université Paris-Dauphine

Eve Lamendour, Université de La Rochelle

Cheryl McWatters, University of Ottawa

Nathalie Oriol, Université Côte d’Azur

Paulette Robic, Université de Nantes

Béatrice Touchelay, Université Lille

Philippe Véry, EDHEC Business School

Elisabeth Walliser, Université Côte d’Azur

Proposals should include:

  • A research question;
  • A fieldwork / primary sources or a corpus

Proposals should be sent to: jhmo2019@gmail.com


[1] Cortada, J.W. 2016. All the Facts – A History of Information in the United-States since 1870. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

[2] Ibid: 303.

[3] Regarding this, cf. pioneering work conducted by M. Aoki on Japanese (versus American) firms and their information structures in the 1980s – Aoki, M. 1986. « Horizontal versus Vertical Information Structure of the Firm. » American Economic Review 76(5): 971-983. 

[4] Porter, M.E., and V.E. Millar. 1985. « How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage. » Harvard Business Review 63(4): 149-160.

[5] The use of information in decision-making was discussed much earlier in 1960s by: Simon, H. A. 1960. The New Science of Management Decision. New-York: Harper & Row.

[6] Lamendour, E., and Y. Lemarchand. 2015. « La magie du chiffre. » Entreprises et Histoire 79(2).

[7] Hautcoeur, P.-C., and A. Riva. 2012. « The Paris Financial Market in the Nineteenth Century : Complementarities and competition in microstructures ». Economic History Review 65(4): 1326-1353.

[8] Cochoy, F. 1999. Une histoire du marketing – discipliner l’économie de marché. Paris : La Découverte.

[9] Collings, D.G., and G. Wood. 2009. Human Resource Management: A Critical Approach. London: Routledge.

[10] Van Creveld, M. 1977. Supplying War – Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[11] Cailluet, L. 2008. « La fabrique de la stratégie : Regards croisés sur la France et les États-Unis ». Revue Française de Gestion 188-189(8) : 143-159.

[12] Murphy, C.N., and J. Yates. 2009. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO): Global Governance through Voluntary Consensus. London: Routledge.

[13] Bounfour, A. (coord.) 2010. « De l’informatique aux systèmesd’information dans les entreprises ». Entrepriseset Histoire. 60(3).

CFP: A crisis in ‘coming to terms with the past’? At the crossroads of translation and memory

Reblogged from the Imperial and Global Network:

Imperial & Global Forum

A crisis in ‘coming to terms with the past’?
At the crossroads of translation and memory

1-2 February 2019
Senate House, London

Over the past decade, a particular notion of ‘coming to terms with the past’, usually associated with an international liberal consensus, has increasingly been challenged. Growing in strength since the 1980s, this consensus has been underpinned by the idea that difficult historical legacies, displaced into the present, and persisting as patterns of thought, speech and behaviour, needed to be addressed through a range of phenomena such as transitional justice, reconciliation, and the forging of shared narratives to ensure social cohesion and shore up democratic norms. 

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CFP: Histories of Business Knowledge

PDW – Histories of Business Knowledge

Thursday, March 14, 2019, 1 to 4pm
Hilton Cartagena de Indias, Avenida Almirante Brion, El Laguito,
Cartagena de Indias, 130001, Colombia

Organizers: Christina Lubinski (cl.mpp@cbs.dk) & Bill Foster (wfoster@ualberta.ca); Organized under the auspice of the BHC workshop committee; supported by the Copenhagen Business School “Rethinking History at Business Schools”-Initiative

Deadline for submissions: Friday, February 8, 2019

Knowledge is a central asset in business. Companies and organizations accumulate a pool of knowledge, whether it is knowledge about their customers’ needs and wants, their business environment, or the skills and experience of their employees. They also engage with a variety of different kinds of knowledge, such as explicit, formalized, or tacit knowledge and knowledge embedded in skills and bodies. The different ways in which businesspeople gather, share and capitalize on knowledge is a crucial competitive advantage (or disadvantage) in all market endeavors. Knowledge is also a product. Knowledge-focused industries—such as consulting, academia and education, accounting, IT or legal services—sell innovative intellectual and educational products and services on a market for knowledge.

In this paper development workshop, we discuss work-in-progress papers addressing business knowledge from a historical perspective. We welcome contributions about the development of business knowledge over time, be that in the context of commercial enterprises, non-for-profit organizations, or educational institutions broadly construed. We specifically encourage historians who are interested in the development of curricula of business knowledge, their pedagogy, research endeavors; or in knowledge stakeholders, their politics, goals, relationships and work processes.

Also, we welcome and encourage interested contributors to submit papers that fit with the Academy of Management Learning and Education (AMLE) special issue “New Histories of Business Schools and How They May Inspire New Futures”. The workshop will provide a setting where authors can discuss paper ideas and/or draft papers for this issue. Christina Lubinski, special issue Guest Editor, and Bill Foster, Editor of AMLE, will provide feedback and answer questions related to the special issue. Deadline for submissions to the special issue is March 2020. For details, see the official call for papers: https://aom.org/uploadedFiles/Publications/AMLE/History_of_bus_schools_for_web.pdf

We believe that historical research on business knowledge makes valuable contributions to research in business history, management, and education. It will also generate valuable insights for policy makers, managers and academics. Examining how our historical understanding of business knowledge foregrounds some aspects of these complex phenomena while downplaying others encourages discussions about these choices, critical and revisionist histories and new lines of thinking. This workshop is an opportunity to “test-drive” innovative critical arguments and taken-for-granted barriers to change within the complex and intertwined environment of universities, the business community, government, and civil society. We are also keen to engage with how these discussions may stimulate innovations in the way we configure education and, consequently, how we teach, conduct research, view our academic profession, and relate to our stakeholders.

We welcome work-in-progress at all stages of development. Interested scholars may submit two types of submissions for discussion: full draft papers (of up to 8,000 words) or extended abstracts/paper ideas (of 1,000 to 3,000 words). The workshop will take place immediately before the BHC meeting and at the same location, the Hilton Cartagena de Indias. Paper selection and registration is separate from the annual meeting. Participation in both BHC meeting and workshop is possible and encouraged. The PDW is part of the “Rethinking History at Business Schools”-Initiative by Copenhagen Business School.

If you are interested in participating, please submit your paper draft (of up to 8,000 words) or paper idea (1,000 to 3,000 words) and a one-page CV to Christina Lubinski (cl.mpp@cbs.dk) by Friday, February 8, 2019. Feel free to contact the organizers with your paper ideas if you are interested in early feedback or want to inquire about the fit of your idea with this PDW.

New Postdoc Position with Exeter History

Reblogged from Imperial and Global Forum:

Imperial & Global Forum

Job title: Postdoctoral Research Associate

Job reference: P64462

Date posted: 10/10/2018

Application closing date: 07/11/2018

Location: Exeter

Salary: The starting salary will be from £29,515 up to £34,189 on Grade E, depending on qualifications and experience.

Package: Generous holiday allowances, flexible working, pension scheme and relocation package (if applicable).

Job category/type: Academic

Job description

The above full-time post is available from December 1st 2018 until 30th November 2019 on a fixed-term basis.

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university in the top 200 of universities worldwide. We combine world-class teaching with world-class research, and have achieved a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework Award 2017. We have over 22,000 students and 4600 staff from 180 different countries and have been rated the WhatUni2017 International Student Choice. Our research focuses on some of the most fundamental issues facing humankind today, with 98% of our research rated as…

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Historical Perspectives on Entrepreneurship and Public Policy

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
Guest Editor:
Michael J. Douma, Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business


Rationale for the special issue: 
1.    Promote historical understanding of entrepreneurship.
2.    Recognize the impact of entrepreneurs on historical change.
3.    Reconceptualize historians as entrepreneurs.
4.    Consider ways to add entrepreneurial activity to the syllabus and curriculum of business and economic history.

Overview:
Josef Schumpeter lamented that historians generally believe that “all that is needed to explain a given historical development is to indicate conditioning or causal factors.” (Schumpeter, 1947). Schumpeter countered that the “creative response” that actors have to certain conditions and factors is less predictable. Indeed, historians can never know all of the conditions or factors contributing to change. We know that cause and effect can never been seen, but that it must be intuited from the evidence. By recognizing the creative responses of individual…

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Business Historians at the SMS 2018

Reblogged from the Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

A number of business historians are presenting at the Strategic Management Society conference, which is being held this week in Paris. The presence of a number of business historians at SMS in encouraging to me, as it is a sign that business historians are now increasingly participating in debates in strategy. In a sense, these business historians are building on the success of those business historians who have made inroads into the field of organization studies. Earlier this month, I got to hear Juha-Antti Lamberg and Jari Ojala, both of the University of Jyvaskyla, present an important paper on the relationship between business history and strategy.

Even though my own co-authored paper was not accepted by the SMS organizers, I would like to extend warm congratulations to the business historians mentioned here.

Monsanto’s Black Box: Technology, Strategy, and Resource Ownership and Control

Shane Hamilton, University of York
Beatrice D’Ippolito, University…

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Post-Doc at Hagley

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Opportunity at the Hagley Library

The NEH-Hagley Fellowship on Business, Culture, and Society supports residencies in Hagley’s Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society by scholars who have received their doctoral degrees. Recent PhD recipients as well as advanced scholars are eligible to apply. In accordance with NEH requirements, these postdoctoral fellowships are restricted to United States citizens or to foreign nationals who have been living in the United States for at least three years. These fellowships are made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Hagley is the pre-eminent research library in the United States on business and its impact on the world. It holds more than seven miles of manuscript materials, more than 300,000 published sources, and visual items in excess of 3 million. Publications drawn from our collections provide foundational knowledge for the rise and influence of big business on politics and society as well as the cultural history of modern consumer society. Documentation of the extensive international operations of firms have provided entry for scholars exploring business and business influences in all areas of the world. While historical research is the principal purpose for most scholars, its active research grant program has funded projects from many fields in the social sciences and humanities.

Two postdoctoral fellowships are available, one of four months and one for eight months. The eight-month fellowship must be taken during the September through May academic year. The fellowships provide a monthly stipend of $4,200, amounting to $33,600 for the eight-month fellowship and $16,800 for the four-month fellowship. Fellows receive complimentary lodging in the scholar’s housing on Hagley’s property for the duration of their residency, as well as office space and the full privileges of visiting scholars, including special access to Hagley’s research collections. They are expected to be in regular and continuous residence and to participate in the Center’s scholarly programs. They must devote full time to their study and may not accept teaching assignments or undertake any other major activities during their residency. Fellows may hold other major fellowships or grants during fellowship tenure, in addition to sabbaticals and supplemental grants from their own institutions, but only those that do not interfere with their residency at Hagley. Other NEH-funded grants may be held serially, but not concurrently.

Applications are due December 1 and should be sent as a .pdf file and include, in the following order:

  • A current CV
  • A 3,000-word explanation of the project and its contributions to pertinent scholarship
  • A statement of no more than 500 words explaining how residency at Hagley would advance the project, particularly the relevance of our research collections.
  • A statement indicating a preference for the four or eight month fellowship.

Applicants also should arrange for two letters of recommendation to arrive separately by the application deadline. These should sent directly to Hagley.

All applications materials, including recommendations letters, should be sent to Carol Lockman, clockman@Hagley.org and must be received by that date for the application to be considered by the selection committee. The committee will make decisions by February 1, with residency beginning as early as July 1. Questions regarding this fellowship may be sent to Carol Lockman as well.

Business Historian Podcast Alert: Wharton’s Natalya Vinokurova On Whether the U.S. Headed for Another Mortgage Crisis?

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

From the Knowledge@Wharton blog:

Ten years after the mortgage-fueled Great Recession, several of the market and structural components remain in place that could set the environment for the next crisis. In her latest research, Wharton management professor Natalya Vinokurova takes a historical look at the development of mortgage-backed securities and finds fascinating parallels to the present day. She spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about her papers, “Failure to Learn from Failure: The 2008 Mortgage Crisis as a Déjà vu of the Mortgage Meltdown of 1994” (Business History) and “How Mortgage-Backed Securities Became Bonds: The Emergence, Evolution, and Acceptance of Mortgage-Backed Securities in the United States, 1960–1987,” (Enterprise and Society) and why one should heed the warnings of history.

You can listen to the podcast here.

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PhDs & PostDocs at Stellenbosch University

A new generation of historians and other social scientists is reinterpreting African history using individual-level archival records. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded Biography of an Uncharted People project builds on this momentum, using micro-level evidence of groups often excluded from aggregate statistical records, charting a new biography of South Africans.

Want to be at the frontier of new methodological innovations? Want to study the lives of people often neglected in historical sources? Want to be part of an exciting team of international scholars in the beautiful university-town of Stellenbosch? Then join us in 2019.

PhD and postdoc positions are available. Specific competencies in historical geography (GIS) are highly recommended for one of the postdoc positions, but applications from all subfields of history are welcome. Please visit unchartedpeople.org for more information. Applications close 1 October 2018.

Johan Fourie
johanf@sun.ac.za