AMLE SI: New Histories of Business Schools and How They May Inspire New Futures

Guest Editors:

  • Patricia Genoe McLaren, Wilfrid Laurier University
  • JC Spender, Kozminski University
  • Stephen Cummings, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Ellen O’Connor, Dominican University of California
  • Todd Bridgman, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Christina Lubinski, Copenhagen Business School
  • Gabrielle Durepos, Mount Saint Vincent University

Deadline for Submissions: March 31, 2020

Potential Publication: June 2021

See!.aspx for more information and resources!

Call for Papers

We might do well to re-examine what we are doing and show the executive judgment and courage necessary to implement radical change (Khurana & Spender 2012: 636). Business schools are the institutional locus of management learning and education. In recent years, we have gained a greater understanding of how their structures, processes, and power dynamics influence pedagogy and curricula, management theory and research, faculty, students, graduates and society more broadly. We are also witnessing growing research into, and discussion about, the relative lack of innovation in management theory development, research, pedagogy, and curricula (Alvesson & Sandberg, 2012).

While there have been a small number of inspirational works that have sought to push us towards changing business schools (Augier and March, 2011; Hassard, 2012; Khurana 2007; Spender, 2016), they have not yet spurred the change we might have hoped for. One under-explored route to encourage innovation in this regard is examining how our historical understanding of the formation and form of the business school may be limiting change. Histories highlight particular characters and plots but what we do not include, or write out of, history, is just as important as what is written in (Jenkins, 2003). History is constitutive, in that our own interpretations of the past define and shape our present and our future (Wadhwani & Bucheli, 2014). Compared with other stochastic fields of study, histories of management and business are simplistically linear and monocultural. This constrains how we see them in the present, and can subsequently limit their future development (Cummings & Bridgman, 2016).

The conventional history of the business school tends to follow the emergence of American business schools: from the founding of the Wharton School in 1881, to the rapid growth of business school enrolment within American universities leading up to the 1950s, to the standardization of the schools after the publication of the Gordon-Howell and Pierson reports in 1959 (Hommel & Thomas, 2014). This history has been crafted over many years and now goes largely unchallenged. But it begs the questions: why is this the story we tell, who gains and loses from its telling, and what events and people are missing from a narrative that should be inspirational for a broad range of people?

North American business schools have been studied at various points in a straightforward assessment style – what are they do, how could they “improve” (Bossard & Dewhurst, 1931; Gordon & Howell, 1959; Pierson, 1959; Porter & McKibbin, 1988), and also with a more complex analysis of context, history, power, and influence (Engwall, Kipping, Usdiken, 2016; Khurana, 2007; Pettigrew, Corneul, & Hommel, 2014). Work has also been done on the history of European management education (cf. Engwall, 2004; Harker, Caemmerer, & Hynes, 2016; Kieser, 2004; Kipping, Usdiken, & Puig, 2004; Tiratsoo, 2004; Usdiken, 2004), and some have looked at the global South (Cooke & Alcadipani, 2015). We are beginning to see alternative histories of the development of management theory and education (Bridgman, Cummings, & McLaughlin, 2016; Dye, Mills, & Weatherbee, 2005; Hassard, 2012; Peltonen, 2015).

However, what about histories of schools of business and commerce from other parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Australasia, South America) in more detail? Or from earlier centuries? Or different examples from North America or Europe that did not survive or later morphed toward the standard form? This special issue seeks to move things forward by looking differently when we look back. It encourages submissions that explore emerging interests, historical barriers to change, and their interrelationships by focusing on the emergence and development of business schools as complex entities that are interwoven with universities, the business community, government, and civil society.

It also seeks submissions that explore how these broader understandings may stimulate innovation in the way we configure business schools and, consequently, how we teach, conduct research, view our profession, and relate to our stakeholders. In this call for papers, we – professors/educators, researchers/inquirers, sufferers/critics, and aspirational as well as actual change agents – are the organizational actors, and business schools are our reflective historical setting; more importantly, they are our actual environment. We have a unique opportunity to push management theory, research methods, and interdisciplinarity to better understand and, more importantly, to reinvent business school(s) in light of what is socially or personally meaningful. We have contextual richness, personal and professional stakes, and a sense of crisis. Being able to change our practices from within, we are uniquely situated to bring scholarship, formal positioning, and inhabited experience to bear. Better historical scholarship could, therefore, help us to change ourselves. To engage historical sensibilities and methods, and empirical richness, to push theory and change institutions.

As a call for spurring this process we welcome contributions that address the following questions:

1. What people and events of business schools’ past have been overlooked by conventional historical narratives?

2. What role could new histories play in debates about how business schools should develop? Can new understandings of the past inspire us to think differently for the future?

3. How can we write reflexive or critical histories of business schools that expose the power and politics of business education and what we teach, or do not teach, students?

4. Are histories being used within business schools or other organizations, such as accreditation bodies, academies and societies, to perpetuate traditional structures and/or norms? Why and to what effect?

5. What are the ‘invented traditions’ that support the institution of business schools and what purpose were they invented to serve?

6. What are the stories of the development of business education outside of North America or prior to the late 19th century? Are these different or the same as current norms? How, why, and what can we learn from these alternative histories?

7. How has history traditionally been taught in business schools? What are the positive and limiting effects of this pedagogy? How could we teach history differently?

8. Why should business school students learn more (or less) history? Or learn it differently?


Alvesson, M,. & Sandberg, J. 2012. Has management studies lost its way? Ideas for more imaginative and innovative research. Journal of Management Studies, 50(1): 128-152.

Augier, M. and March, J. 2011. The roots, rituals, and rhipping etorics of change: North American business schools after the second World War. Stanford University Press.

Bossard, J. H. S., & Dewhurst, J. F. 1931. University education for business: A study of existing needs and practices. Philadelphia. PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Bridgman, T., Cummings, S., & McLaughlin, C. 2016. Restating the case: How revisiting the development of the case method can help us think differently about the future of the business school. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(4): 724-741.

Cooke, B., & Alcadipani, R. 2015. Toward a global history of management education: The case of the Ford Foundation and the São Paulo School of Business Administration, Brazil. Academy of Management Learning & Education,14(4): 482-499.

Cummings, S. & Bridgman, T. 2016. The Limits and possibilities of history: How a wider, deeper and more engaged understanding of business history can foster innovative thinking. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 15(2): 250-267.

Dye, K., Mills, A. J., & Weatherbee, T. 2005. Maslow: Man interrupted: Reading management theory in context. Management Decision, 43(10): 1375-1395.

Engwall, L. 2004. The Americanization of Nordic management education. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 109- 117.

Engwall, L., Kipping, M., & Usdiken, B. 2016. Defining management: Business schools, consultants, media. New York: Routledge.

Gordon, R. A., & Howell, J. E. 1959. Higher education for business. New York: Columbia University Press.

Harker, M. J., Caemmerer, B., & Hynes, N. 2016. Management education by the French Grandes Ecoles de Commerce: Past, present, and an uncertain future. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 15(3): 549-568.

Hassard, J. 2012. Rethinking the Hawthorne Studies: The Western Electric research in its social, political and historical context. Human Relations, 65(11): 1431-1461.

Hommel, U., & Thomas, H. 2014. Research on business schools. In A. M. Pettigrew, E. Corneul, & U. Hommel (Eds.), The institutional development of business schools: 8-36. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Jenkins, K. 2003. Refiguring history: New thoughts on an old discipline. London, U.K.: Routledge.

Khurana, R. 2007. From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Khurana, R., & Spender, J. C. 2012. Herbert A. Simon on What Ails Business Schools: More than ‘A Problem in Organizational Design’. Journal of Management Studies, 49: 619–639.

Kieser, A. 2004. The Americanization of academic management education in Germany. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 90-97.

Kipping, M., Usdiken, B., & Puig, N. 2004. Imitation, tension, and hybridization: Multiple “Americanizations” of management education in Mediterranean Europe. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 98-108.

Peltonen, T. 2015. History of management thought in context: The case of Elton Mayo in Australia. In P. G. McLaren, A. J. Mills, & T. G. Weatherbee (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to Management and Organizational History. Abindon, UK: Sage.

Pettigrew, A. M., Corneul, E., & Hommel, U. 2014. The institutional development of business schools. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pierson, F. C. 1959. The education of American business men: A study in university-college programs in business administration. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Porter, L. W., & McKibbin, L. E. 1988. Management education and development: Drift or thrust into the 21st century? New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.

Spender, J.C. 2016. How management education’s past shapes its present. BizEd. Tiratsoo, N. 2004. The “Americanization” of management education in Britain. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 118-126.

Usdiken, B. 2004. Americanization of European management education in historical and comparative perspective. Journal of Management Inquiry, 13(2): 87-89.

Wadhwani, D., & Bucheli, M. 2014. The future of the past in management and organization studies. In D. Wadhwani, & M. Bucheli (Eds.), Organizations in Time: History, Theory, Methods. New York: Oxford University Press.

History of Management and Organizations Colloquium

25th Colloquium of the History of Management and Organizations

March 26th and 27th 2020 / Lyon
Organised by the French Association for History of Management and Organizations (AHMO) and the Institute for Education and Research in Healthcare and Social Service Organizations (IFROSS, University Jean Moulin Lyon 3), with the collaboration of the Centre for Historical Research Rhône-Alpes (LARHRA, UMR 5190) and Triangle (UMR 5206).

The Colloquium in History of Management and Organizations (JHMO) is the annual, international and interdisciplinary colloquium organised by the French Association for History of Management and Organizations (AHMO). It gathers scholars in history, management studies, sociology, economics and other
related fields, who share the historical approach of AHMO research topics: organisations, managerial thought and practice, and the field of management studies.

As in previous years, the 25th JHMO is divided in two sessions. The general session is open to any papers dealing with managerial matters using historical methods. The thematic session focuses on “paths and networks”.

General Session

The general session is open to any proposal dealing with AHMO topics (history of the field of management studies and its disciplines, history of organisations, history of managerial thought and practice), with a special interest in accounting history, which has been the foundation of the AHMO community.
Proposals should use historical methods and privilege empirical data, in every sense: archives, textual corpus, interviews, etc. The novelty and originality of the research results will be appreciated.

Thematic Session: paths and networks

The thematic session concerns all topics, issues or methods which utilise the concepts of path or network in the history of organisations and management studies. From a historical perspective, the notions of path and network are deeply linked. Every path is a movement inscribed in time and (geographical, social, economic …) space, which might be described as a network (between locations, people, interests …). Reciprocally, every network is the representation of the relations between people or objects at a given time, and those relations are the consequences of a temporal evolution.

The concepts of path and network are powerful entry points for the history of organisations and management studies. The objective of the thematic session is to bring examples of the use of the concepts of path and network together. Proposals should move beyond the metaphorical use of such concepts, either by focusing
on concrete paths or networks, or by relying on methods based on paths and networks.

a) Taken as concrete historic objects, paths and networks concern every historical period and a variety of topics, such as:

  • banking and financial networks;
  • trade networks (see the study of French merchant networks in the 18th century by Pierre Gervais, Yannick Lemarchand and Cheryl S. McWatters1);
  • colonial networks;
  • professional networks and corps;
  • consumers networks; and
  • family, clan, and diaspora networks.

This list is non-exhaustive and we welcome proposals on any topic related to paths and networks.

b) Paths and networks are also central concepts in quantitative methods which developed in disciplines such as sociology, demography or geography since the 1970s. Despite the adoption by history, and notably economic history, of long-run statistical series throughout the 20th century, the discipline has remained relatively closed to such methods. Nonetheless, in 2008 Claire Lemercier and Claire Zalc underscored the interest of quantitative approaches in their “taking particularly into account the phenomenon of networks and paths that has been put on the agenda of historical research since the 1990s”. Such methods are indeed powerful tools for description and interpretation, but also for hypothesis testing (such as deconstructing ordinary representations relayed in archives or discourses), or even as a heuristic for unveiling “definition problems easier not to mention if one sticks to qualitative methods”. The thematic session is open to any proposal using such quantitative methods for describing and analysing paths and networks in any historical period, such as:

Career paths: the concept of career is of prime importance in the history of organisations and management. Qualitative methods such as biography focus on such a concept, but quantitative methods have also developed to analyse professional trajectories. Primarily used in ancient and medieval history, prosopography has developed particularly in contemporary history for studying the élites or in sociohistorical approaches relying on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu, for example for studying scholars. Other methods such as event history analysis7 are used to study careers in sociology. How might such tools be applied to the history of organisations and management?

History of organisations: the concepts of path and network can be applied equally at the organisational level, especially with social network analysis. For example, the study of interlocking directorates (which “occurs when a person affiliated with one organization sits on the board of directors of another organizations”) is now a classic approach for analysing organisations, particularly the largest US firms. It mainly developed in the field of sociology, economics and management studies, occasionally in a longitudinal perspective based on cross-section analysis, as for example on the British industry in the 20th century. From a historical perspective, this method provides first-rate material for understanding the forms of capitalism and their evolution. What insights could such methods offer to the history of organisations and management, for example on forms of governance or the evolution of strategy?

Diffusion of knowledge: social network analysis has largely spread in social sciences and humanities, notably in history. It provides quantitative tools for studying the dissemination of knowledge in scientific fields or communities (see for example the research programme proposed by Catherine Herfeld on history of economics). For instance, the analysis of co-authorship or citations network has considerably developed since the seminal works of Eugene Garfield who is one of the creators of the bibliographic database Web of Science and the rise of bibliometric analysis of citation impact.

Possibilities offered by such methods remain largely unexplored in the history of the various scientific fields dealing with organisations and managerial practices. How could the concepts of path and network, or the methods based on those concepts, be used to study the diffusion of knowledge within organisations?

This list of topics is non-exhaustive. Proposals adopting other methods based on the concepts of path and network are welcome, for instance, more qualitative approaches relying on actor-network theory.

The Joseph Colleye Prize

The first Joseph Colleye Prize in accounting history, in the amount of €1,500, will be awarded during the 25th Colloquium in the History of Management and Organizations. The call for applications for the prize is available at

Submission instructions

Proposals should be 1 to 2 pages (5,000 signs, references excluded) and include explicitly:

  • Research question;
  • Sources (archives, textual corpus, interviews, field of observation…);
  • Methods; and
  • Main results if available.

Proposals may be written in French or English. A summary in both French and English should be provided. Proposals are to be submitted to or on the website of the conference:

Important deadlines:

  • Submission of proposals: 31 October 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: 18 November 2019
  • Final version of papers (20 to 25 pages, 30 to 40,000 signs, references excluded): 2 March 2020

Proposals will follow a double-blind review process.

Presentation format

Presentations will be organised into sessions of 3 to 4 presentations depending on the topic. The oral presentation should be 20 minutes in length, and will be followed by a 20-minute discussion period. Participants should send a final version of their paper before 2 March 2020 in order to distribute papers to the other participants of their session. Oral presentations may be in French or English.

Date and location

The 25th Colloquium in History of Management and Organizations will be held on Thursday the 26th and Friday the 27th of March 2020, in Lyon. The morning of Thursday the 26th will be dedicated to the doctoral workshop. The colloquium will begin on Tuesday the 26th at 14h00 and end on Friday the 27th at 16h00.


Email: / Website:

CfP: SI in Management Learning

Call for Papers: Anniversary Special Issue of Management Learning

Celebrating 50 years of Management Learning: Historical reflections at the intersection of the past and future

Deadline for submissions: June 01, 2018

Guest Editors:
Gabrielle Durepos, Mount Saint Vincent University, Canada
Rafael Alcadipani, FGV – EAESP, Brazil
Mairi Maclean, University of Bath, UK
Stephen Cummings, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Management Learning marks its 50th anniversary in 2020. Management Learning has a long history of publishing critical, reflexive scholarship on organizational knowledge and learning. This special issue provides a forum to celebrate and build on this history through critical and reflective engagement with the past, present and future of management learning, knowledge and education. Taking a historical approach is all the more pressing given recent and impending crises – geo-political, technological, environmental and humanitarian – since some crises only make sense when seen in the fullness of time (Casson and Casson, 2013). We therefore encourage scholarship that challenges the disciplinary past of management knowledge, learning and education and enables more diverse, innovative futures to be imagined.

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