SI CFP: Microhistory

Microhistory in Management History and Organization Theory

Management & Organizational History

Manuscript deadline: 17 February 2023

Special Issue Editors:

Liv Egholm, Copenhagen Business School
le.mpp@cbs.dk

Michael Heller, Brunel Business School
michael.heller@brunel.ac.uk

Michael Rowlinson, University of Exeter Business School
m.c.rowlinson@exeter.ac.uk

There has been a resurgence of interest in microhistory. The classic texts associated with the subject remain immensely popular: The Cheese and the Worms (Ginzburg, 1992[1976]); The Return of Martin Guerre (Zemon Davis, 1983); and The Great Cat Massacre (Darnton, 1984). These provide a reference point, which has provided the basis for increasing reflection on the theoretical significance and methodological distinctiveness of microhistory (Magnússon & Szijártó, 2013), such as the special issue of Past and Present on ‘Global History and Microhistory’ (Ghobrial, 2019). Attention has also been paid to microhistory from management and business history as well as organization studies (Bourguignon & Floquet, 2019; Decker, 2015).

Microhistory offers an opportunity to reconceptualise relationships which lie at the heart of historical research and historiography: the historical nexus between the particular and the general, agency and structure, the micro and the macro. Microhistorians are known for their methodological habit of reading sources forensically in their search for historical clues. It implies reading historical sources ‘against the grain’ (Decker & McKinlay, 2020, pp. 26-27), or as Levi (2019: 41) puts it, ‘beyond the edge of the page’, carefully looking for what Ginzburg refers to as “unintended evidence” (Ginzburg, 2016). The use of microhistory as a magnifying glass can be seen as the equivalent of a detective’s tool. Sherlock Holmes´ working methods are often used as a metaphor for microhistory’s careful readings and detection of clues (Ginzburg, 2013 (1979)), often within “exceptional normal” cases (Grendi, 1977).

For this reason, the trademark of microhistorical methodology is to trace sources and clues throughout and across archives (Ginzburg, 2013). The names of actors, places, concepts, events, or objects are used as concrete entry points to show how previously unrelated spaces, temporalities, and fields are woven together in practice. This mapping demonstrates great potential in revealing unnoticed relations between, for example, family life and entrepreneurship (Popp & Holt, 2013), religious practices and trade (Trivellato, 2019), or philanthropic gift giving and the establishment of the welfare state (Egholm, 2021).

The purpose is not to argue for the universal value of the exceptional; it is to show, rather, how discrete historical events challenge our conceptualisations of the universal, and provide essential clues to what can be considered as normal (Ginzburg, 1979; Peltonen, 2001). Accordingly, the reduction of scale is not the study of the “microness” of a phenomenon (Levi, 2019, p. 38). The reduction of scale, rather, provides the historian with a heuristic tool to craft new theories by distorting or amending metanarratives and reformulating historical concepts and relations. Without explicitly mentioning microhistory, a series of organizational phenomena have been reconceptualized from a close reading of sources, with notable examples being the career (McKinlay, 2002), and entrepreneurship (Popp & Holt, 2013. Thus, microhistory shows how, “history is a discipline of general questions and ‘local’ answers” (Levi, 2019, p. 45).

The historic turn (Rowlinson, Hassard, & Decker, 2014) has pushed for a revised understanding of past context as offering more than simply temporal variables for universal theorising (Van Lent & Durepos, 2019). Historical phenomena often remain, however, reduced to consequences or affectations of particular contexts. In contrast, microhistory calls out for a grounding and explanation of the past through analyses of how actors, places, concepts, events or objects interact and are woven together in contradictory and often different fields and interests. In so doing, microhistory exposes how both individuals and social structures of all kinds are produced simultaneously through relationships and processes.

This special issue’s scope is to explore the methodological, ontological, and empirical strengths of microhistory to advance management history and organization studies. Therefore, we invite both theoretical, and theoretically informed empirical submissions that will further the contribution of microhistory in business history, management, and organizational history, as well as management and organization theory.

Questions and topics of interest for the special issue may include:

  1. How does the use of microhistory question, elaborate, or develop macro theories or broader conceptualisations from within the confines of discrete and particular historical studies
  2. How do microhistorical methodologies of reading “beyond the edges of the paper” contradict and undermine broader historical narratives in business and management and organizational history such as Marxism, functionalism, institutionalism, neo-liberalism, the resource-based view of the firm, and economic path dependency?
  3. What are the advantages and concerns for the use of historical archival research, source criticism, triangulation, and historical interpretivism when innovative microhistorical methodologies work with “dissonant sources” and “unintended evidence”?
  4. What is the impact of microhistory in relation to archival ethnography and the employment of micro historical sources (e.g., letters, diaries, postcards, travel accounts, scrapbooks, and memoirs)?
  5. What is the way in which local knowledge and local environment historically create organizational, business, and entrepreneurial opportunities?
  6. How does a microhistorical approach reconceptualise the relationship between agency and structure in business and management and organizational history?
  7. What is the relationship between the different scales of history? In particular, to what extent do microhistories develop historical accounts that reflect on a granular scale broader organizational and business historical environments and trends?
  8. How can we account for generalisation by using a microhistorical approach? How can local answers reply to general questions by showing complex and often ambiguous connections in historical archives?

New historical article in HR

I am pleased to see another really interesting historical article has been published open access in Human Relations:

Business as service? Human Relations and the British interwar management movement

Mairi Maclean, Gareth Shaw, Charles Harvey 

First Published January 19, 2022 Research Article
https://doi.org/10.1177/00187267211070771
  

Abstract

To what extent should business have an implication of service when its fundamental purpose is profit-seeking? We explore this issue through a contextually informed reappraisal of British interwar management thinking (1918–1939), drawing on rich archival material concerning the Rowntree business lectures and management research groups. Whereas existing literature is framed around scientific management versus human relations schools, we find a third pronounced, related theme: business as service. Our main contribution is to identify the origins in Britain of the discourse of corporate social responsibility in the guise of business as service. We show that this emerged earlier than commonly assumed and was imbued with an instrumental intent from its inception as a form of management control. This was a discourse emanating not from management theorists but from management practitioners, striving to put the corporate system on a sustainable footing while safeguarding the power, authority, and legitimacy of incumbent managerial elites.

HiMOS webinar April 27th

Great news everyone!

The HiMOS series (https://historymos.com/) returns!

We are delighted to host Grace Augustine (Bayes Business School) and Sandeep Pillai (Bocconi University) at the next event.

Grace will provide a “behind-the-scene” presentation about her recent Organization Science article (https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.2021.1450) on abortion provision in the US. She will share her insights to publish historical research in a top management journal. We recommend reading the article before the workshop to get the most out of the presentation. 

Sandeep will present his working paper that aims to enhance our methodological knowledge of doing history in the strategic management context. We will circulate his working paper one week before the event.

Date: Wednesday, Apr 27th, 2022

Time: 14:00–16:00 (Eastern European Summer Time, UTC+3, Finland); 13:00–15:00 (Italy); 12:00–14:00 (UK)

Register here to get your Zoom link: https://link.webropolsurveys.com/EP/292288F111B87897

Speakers:

Senior Lecturer Grace Augustine (Bayes Business School, City, University of London): Capturing Voices, Experiences, and Identities Through Archival Data

Assistant Professor Sandeep Pillai (Bocconi University): The Role of Historical Methods in Strategy Research: Bridging the Gap between Loveliness and Likeliness

Best regards,

Christian and Zeerim

Dr Grace Augustine (Bayes) and Dr Sandeep Pillai (Bocconi) will speak at the next HiMOS event.

Article of the Month in Human Relations

It’s typical of me that only today did I become aware that our article on “Rethinking History and Memory in Organization Studies” (with John Hassard & Mick Rowlinson) has been the Article of the Month in Human Relations for March. Still, very pleased that the journal has highlighted our piece, especially since Human Relations has a great track record for publishing innovative pieces at the intersection of organization research and history.

March’s Article of the Month in Human Relations

HiMOS webinar returns

The HiMOS webinar series (www.historymos.com) aims to generate hands-on insights for those interested in applying historical methods within management and organization studies. Previous issues included keynote speakers such as Eero Vaara (Oxford Saïd Business School) and Ryan Raffaelli (Harvard Business School).

We are delighted to host Mairi Maclean (University of Bath) and Valeria Giacomin (Bocconi University) at the next webinar. Mairi will share her take on the current state and future of historical organization studies. Valeria will provide insights into the challenges and opportunities of applying a specific historical method (i.e., oral history) in the management research context. 

Date: Wednesday, Dec 1st, 2021
Time: 14.15-16.00 (EET; UTC+2, Finland) [12.15-14.00 (UK) / 13.15-15.00 (Italy)]

Register here (https://link.webropolsurveys.com/EP/55A94B9F60D09029) to get your Zoom link 

Speakers:
Prof. Mairi Maclean (University of Bath): Historical organization studies as a methodological paradigm
Asst. Prof. Valeria Giacomin (Bocconi University): Oral history and business history research in emerging markets

Organizers: 

Dr. Christian Stutz, Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr. Zeerim Cheung, JSBE

New article collection on History and Organization Studies from Business History

AOM 2021 has launched online for a second year in a row, and Business History is celebrating the continued vibrancy of research of the Management History Division with an article collection of key pieces published in the journal over the years.

While not an exhaustive list by any means, this collection curates some of the significant and unusual pieces that have contributed to a range of debates across these fields, starting with the influential special issue edited by Behlül Üsdiken und Alfred Kieser “History in Organization Studies” (2004). This has been followed by articles and key special issues such as “The Age of Strategy: Strategy, Organizations and Society” (2013), “New Business History?” (2015), “Narrative Turn and Business History” (2017), “Historical research on institutional change” (2018). Such contributions have drawn from the long-standing engagement of business and organizational historians at conferences such as the European Group of Organization Studies, Academy of Management, and the British Academy of Management, as well as from business and management scholars with a keen appreciation of the importance of history to organizational concerns.

If you are interested why not head over to Business History and take a look!

BAM conference 2021 – Management & Business History Track

BAM2021 Conference in the Cloud, Lancaster University Management School.

31st August – 3rd September 2021

BAM2021 Key Dates and Deadlines

  • Paper submission site opens (15th January)
  • Deadline to submit paper (5th March)
  • Review process starts (12th March)
  • Paper acceptance notification (29th April)
  • Deadline for at least ONE author to register for the Conference (28th May)
  • Final paper upload (18th June)
  • Asynchronous paper presentation deadline (16th July)

Link to Conference and Paper Submission Guidelines: https://www.bam.ac.uk/events-landing/conference.html

Track:Management and Business History

Track Chairs: James Fowler, University of Essex James.Fowler@essex.ac.uk

 Roy Edwards, University of Southampton r.a.edwards@soton.ac.uk

Track description: This track encourages the growing number of management and business historians who work in business schools and social science departments to engage in constructive debate with a wide range of management scholars. The 2021 conference theme, ‘‘Covid Economy Recovery and the Role of Responsible Management’’, is a superb opportunity to explore the value of historical study for current management. This year the conference will remain online, but we are keen to offer the opportunity for all accepted papers to be presented live online and to receive the kind of commentary and feedback that would normally be expected at a face to face conference.

In this track we specialize in chronologically or longitudinally motivated research. Histories of organizations, industries and institutions give us the opportunity to understand how managers have dealt with crises in the past. History is replete with disasters of varying magnitude. We would welcome papers that explore how economies and wider society have responded to extreme circumstances – from war to natural disasters and economic collapse, humanity has been remarkably resilient in dealing with adversity. But how has this happened? What has been the role of the private and public sector in dealing with emergency?

We welcome papers, symposia or workshop proposals either using new and innovative methodologies or applying archival methodology to a new disciplinary context. We are also interested in context specific papers using more traditional historical methodology but which take innovative approaches to relate their findings to wider social science concerns including the diversity of experience in present day businesses, regions and communities. While the main conference theme ought to feature prominently in all submissions, we encourage cross-disciplinary papers and workshop submissions that link different Tracks.

As a group we are inherently multi-disciplinary and believe in the application of theory to historical analysis, and there is no single epistemology for approaching this. We aim to encourage theoretically orientated social science history with a clear relationship to present day debates in the management discipline. Contributions might focus on but are not limited to: the economic or social history of business, historical case studies for theory building, theoretical contributions on the relevance of history to management studies, the uses of history, history as a method for management studies. Please note that while we are open-minded work not featuring a historical dimension, broadly defined, will not be accepted.

This article is a useful initial point of reference:

Tennent, K. (2020). Management and business history – a reflexive research agenda for the 2020s. Journal of Management Historyhttps://doi.org/10.1108/JMH-09-2020-0061.

These articles offer commentary on the ‘dual integrity’ of business history methods as a combination of social science and historical craft:

Decker, S., Usidken, B., Engwall, L. & Rowlinson, M. (2018). Special issue introduction: Historical research on institutional change. Business History, 60(5). pp613-627. https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2018.1427736

Maclean, M., Harvey, C. and Clegg, S.R., (2016). Conceptualizing historical organization studies. Academy of Management Review, 41(4), pp.609-632. DOI:
10.5465/amr.2014.0133

Rowlinson, M., Hassard, J. & Decker, S. (2014). Research Strategies for Organisational History: A Dialogue between Historical Theory and Organisation Theory. Academy of Management Review, 39(3), pp250–274. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2012.0203

University of Bristol Webinar: Taylorism, generations & historical reflexivity in management scholarship

If you would like to join us for the University of Bristol School of Management Research Seminar hosted by the Strategy, International Management & Business, and Entrepreneurship (SIMBE) Academic Group, please email me (stephanie.decker[at]bristol.ac.uk) for the link.
Michael Weatherburn
(Imperial College London) 

Taylorism, generations and historical reflexivity in management scholarship
1st December, 12:30-13:30, Online Webinar (UK time)

Abstract
  

Building on increasingly confident scholarly studies (e.g. Decker, Hassard & Rowlinson, 2020; Maclean, Clegg, Suddaby, & Harvey, 2020), this project braids together history and organisation studies, and explores the historical origins and trajectory of ‘Taylorism’. As will be discussed, ‘Taylorism’ had two original meanings but mutated and expanded as part of growing scholarship on the labour process, organisation studies and political activism from the 1960s onwards. This entangled situation is still with us and indeed scholars suggest that ‘Taylorism’ presents us with a generational problem to solve (see Roper, 1999; Nyland, Bruce and Burns, 2014; Bruce et al, 2020). Addressing these points, the goal of this presentation is to both refine analysis of the historical impact of management on labour and to further demonstrate the value of historical reflexivity in management scholarship. 

Key words: Taylorism, history, organization studies, Gramsci, labour, reflexivity.

Biography 

Dr Michael Weatherburn is Field Leader of Humanities and Social Sciences and Data Science Institute Academic Fellow at Imperial College London, where he teaches history, digital studies and business ethics. He has a PhD in the history of science and technology, is Honorary Associate Professor at Hong Kong University, and History & Policy convenor at the UK Government Office for Science. He works with public and private sector clients through his consultancy, Project Hindsight (https://projecthindsight.co.uk/).  

ToCs for MOH 14, 2 March 2019

Articles

Members only: the Victorian gentlemen’s club as a space for doing business 1843–1900
Marrisa Joseph
Pages: 123-147 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2019.1580589

The problem with women: a feminist interrogation of management textbooks
Kristin S. Williams & Albert J. Mills
Pages: 148-166 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2019.1598436

From royal family-based ownership to state business management: Mangkunegara’s sugar industry in Java from the middle of the 19th to early 20th century
Wasino, Endah Sri Hartatik & Nawiyanto
Pages: 167-183 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2019.1614462

Strategy of a top agriculture co-operative in the central planned economy. The differentiation of the organization in perspective social system theory
Eva Šerá
Pages: 184-211 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2019.1660682

ToC MOH 13,4 (2018)

Management & Organizational History, Volume 13, Issue 4, November 2018 is now available online on Taylor & Francis Online.

Special issue on War and Peace in Organizational Memory.

Guest Editors: Victoria Barnes and Lucy Newton

Introduction

War and peace in organizational memory
Victoria Barnes & Lucy Newton
Pages: 303-308 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1549798
Articles

War memorials in organizational memory: a case study of the Bank of England |
Victoria Barnes & Lucy Newton
Pages: 309-333 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1534596

 

Good war/bad war: a war to remember, a war to forget?
Howard Cox
Pages: 334-351 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1525407

 

Social memory assets as a defense mechanism: the Onondaga Pottery in World War II
Stephanie Vincent
Pages: 352-372 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1525405

 

Amodern and modern warfare in the making of a commercial airline
Nicholous M. Deal, Albert J. Mills & Jean Helms Mills
Pages: 373-396 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1547647

 

Conflicting commemorations: past and present in confederate memorialization
Barbara Hahn
Pages: 397-403 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1525406

 

British and German SMEs and the memory of war: a comparative approach
David W. Paulson
Pages: 404-429 | DOI: 10.1080/17449359.2018.1550425