New Book: The Emergence of Routines (Raff and Scranton)

Business historians Dan Raff and Phil Scranton have published an interesting new edited collection that explores the intersection of business history, business strategy, and entrepreneurship. Published by OUP, The Emergence of Routines includes a series of historical case studies examining the origins of organizational order in firms. The book includes a conceptual introduction and an intriguingly titled concluding chapter on “learning from history” that should be of interest to readers of this blog.

From the OUP Site’s Description:

This book is a collection of essays about the emergence of routines and, more generally, about getting things organized in firms and in industries in early stages and in transition.

These are subjects of the greatest interest to students of entrepreneurship and organizations, as well as to business historians, but the academic literature is thin. The chronological settings of the book’s eleven substantive chapters are historical, reaching as far back as the late 1800s right up to the 1990s, but the issues they raise are evergreen and the historical perspective is exploited to advantage.

The chapters are organized in three broad groups: examining the emergence of order and routines in initiatives, studying the same subject in ongoing operations, and a third focusing specifically on the phenomena of transition. The topics range from the Book-of-the-Month Club to industrial research at Alcoa, from the evolution of procurement and coordination to project-based industries such as bridge- and dam-building and the governance of defence contracting, and from the development of project performance appraisal at the World Bank to the way the global automobile industry collectively redesigned the internal combustion engine to deal with after the advent of environmental regulation. The chapters are vivid and thought-provoking in themselves and, for pedagogical purposes, offer excellent jumping-off points for discussion of relevant experiences and cognate academic literature.

Call for Papers: Imperial Labour History and the Global Turn

Reblogged from Imperial & Global Forum:

Imperial & Global Forum

Call for Papers: Imperial Labour History and the Global Turn

The Second European Labour History Network Conference

Paris, 2nd to 4th November 2017

Gareth Curless
University of Exeter

Labour historians have been particularly attuned to the global turn. Over the last decade labour historians have become not only more global in their outlook, but they have also begun to pay greater attention to subjects that speak to contemporary concerns associated with globalization. This has given rise to a number of studies considering a diverse array of subjects, including ‘global’ occupations, forms of free and unfree labour migration, and the global dimensions of working-class formation. The benefits of this global approach are immeasurable. Among other things it has highlighted the importance of studying labour in globalized sectors over the longue durée; it has brought into question the teleological assumption that labour movements inevitably develop a national character; and…

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“Accounts with Interest:” An Interdisciplinary Research Project at Barclays Group Archives

Reblogged from the Past Speaks – a new doctoral project inspired by the ESRC seminar series that brought corporate archivists, organization scholars and business historians together.

The Past Speaks

bank-ext1-smallest-cropped

My co-author Margaret Procter will be presenting our paper at a conference at the Federal Reserve of Saint Louis (see picture above).  The theme of the conference is Innovative Solutions for Banks and Financial Archives. The title of our paper is “Accounts with Interest:” An Interdisciplinary Research Project at Barclays Group Archives.  The paper falls into the broad category of “the uses of the past” and considers how banks can make use of the historical information in their archives so as to better achieve their objectives. The project is designed to speak to the interest of scholars in strategy and archive science as well as practitioners.  Our co-authors are Maria Sienkiewicz of Barclays and Ian Jones, my excellent PhD student.

The conference in St Louis looks very interesting, as the other speakers include the renowned historian Harold James, leading economic historians such as Michael Bordo, Larry Neal, and Eugene N. White as well…

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History and Intellectual Property

The recent Management and Organization Review (MOR) Volume 13, Issue 1, includes a vigorous exchange on the history and debate over intellectual property discussed in the paper by Mike W. Peng, David Ahlstrom, Shawn M. Carraher, and Weilei (Stone) Shi, followed by two commentaries by Can Huang and Martin Kenney. The issue is available for free download through April 30, 2017.

History and the Debate Over Intellectual Property

Abstract: This article responds to recent calls for organizational research to address larger, more globally relevant questions and to pay attention to history, by analyzing the crucial debate over intellectual property rights (IPR) between the United States and China. Despite the recent US position, the United States has not always been a leading IPR advocate. Rather, it was a leading IPR violator during the nineteenth century. An institution-based view of IPR history suggests that both the US refusal to protect foreign IPR in the nineteenth century and the current Chinese lack of enthusiasm to meet US IPR demands represent rational choices. However, as cost-benefit considerations change institutional transitions are possible. We predict that to the same extent the United States voluntarily agreed to strengthen IPR protection when its economy became sufficiently innovation-driven, China will similarly improve its IPR protection.

Future Role of Business Archives

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

ICA-SBA-Stockholm-huvudbild

The annual conference for the International Council on Archives‘ (ICA) Section on Business Archives (SBA) is taking place right now,  5-6 April 2017, in Stockholm. A follow-up conference will be taking place 4–6 December in Mumbai. Both events are about the Future Role of Business Archives and should interest both business historians and uses of the past scholars (I’m both). In the photo below, you can see Kathrine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation giving keynote today.  Photo courtesy of Anders Ravn Sørensen

mahler

Although I can’t be at the Stockholm conference, I am hoping to get to the one in Mumbai. The focus of the Stockholm conference in on the importance of using true stories for external brand-building communication. In Mumbai, the focus on the internal effects that historical stories can have on management decisions and organizational culture. Since my current research looks at how history influences managerial cognition and organizational…

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The Archives Advantage: Indian Edition

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

The Economic Times has published a short but interesting story about how India’s Tata Group uses its corporate archives in Pune to maintain its competitive advantage. This story is particularly interesting to me for while there is a growing body of literature on how firms in the West and in Japan use history,  much less has been published about the uses of the past in emerging market multinationals.

More information about the Tata Central Archives can be found here.

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New directions in the history of imperial and global networks

Reblogged from Imperial and Global Forum:

Imperial & Global Forum

New directions in the history of imperial and global networks

An ECR workshop at the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the History & Policy Global Economics and History Forum. 23 June, Reed Hall, Exeter (12-5pm)

Following the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump on a protectionist programme much debate has focused on the future of economic, political and humanitarian networks and the apparent challenges to globalisation present today. This, in turn, has stimulated interest in earlier histories of imperial and global networks. In Britain, for example, there has been a great deal of discussion of the potential value of reviving historical trade links with the Commonwealth, a move which has pejoratively been referred to as ‘Empire 2.0’ by its critics.

As well as showcasing new research in the history of imperial and global networks this workshop will include a seminar on training in public engagement, focused…

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CFP:’Time Preference and Time Horizon in Historical Perspective’

Reblogged from The Past Speaks:

The Past Speaks

AS: I’m sharing this CFP for a very interesting workshop on the history of time preferences. The CFP is particularly important in light of the ongoing research on so-called patient capital, which is the subject of the current issue of the Socio-Economic Review.

I haven’t yet read the paper mentioned in the CFP, so I’m wondering whether the focus of the workshop will be solely on cross-national and cross-temporal variations in the time preferences of individuals or whether changes in the revealed time preferences of business corporations and other large organizations will also be a theme of the workshop. I ask because the time preferences of US corporations appear to have changed dramatically in the last generation (for the current debates on short-termism, see here, here, and here) while there isn’t much evidence that the mix of time preferences among the individuals who make up the US population. The…

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Special Issue: Indian Business in the Global World

Reblogged from The Past Speaks…

The Past Speaks

Business History

Indian business history remains a largely unexplored area of research for a European and North American academic audience. Hitherto Indian business history has largely been addressed within a dichotomy of its relationship to the rise of the domestic economic industrialization or alternatively within a context of subordination to, and exploitation by, western multinationals. Thus the relationship between indigenous development and Indian firms’ integration and growth within a wider world economy has been paid little attention.

This call for a special edition of Business History on Indian Business in the Global World seeks to place the development of Indian business in its wider relationships to both the Indian domestic economy and the world economy.

Papers which explore the 20th century and the transition to independence in 1947, with its influence on the dynamics of Indian business would be welcome. Many of the fundamental elements of Indian business development had matured prior to 1947 but gained additional…

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