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?

Research seminar by the Organizational Memory Studies community

Please see below the details for a research seminar by Andrea Casey and Sonia Coman.

Title: New directions in organizational and management history: interdisciplinary perspectives on the field

Date: January 28, 2022

Time: 13:00 GMT/8:00 EST/6:00 MST/5:00 PST

See the link below on our RG page:https://www.researchgate.net/project/Organizational-Memory-Studies-Research-Community

In case not on RG,https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89410675180

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

Request for Proposal (RFP): Researcher for John Ellerman Foundation History Project

2021 marks the John Ellerman’s Foundation’s 50th anniversary and to celebrate this, the Foundation is launching two funding initiatives, and a research project into their history.

The Foundation was set up as a generalist grantmaking trust in 1971. They continue with the broad philanthropic interests of their benefactor Sir John Ellerman, while reflecting changing times. The aim is to advance the wellbeing of people, society and the natural world, by focusing on the arts, environment and social action, as these areas can make an important contribution to wellbeing.

The Foundation is now advertising a funded researcher position and two new funding streams. The below is excerpted from their website.

“In our 50th year, we are looking to do a deep dive into our history, and we are seeking a researcher to help us achieve this. The researcher will bring together the data and information already collected, and conduct further research to analyse the Ellerman family’s business history, as much as their philanthropic one, in order to gain an understanding of the origins of the Foundation’s wealth and how this supports our work today.

We are offering a funded researcher position for 12-months, and are seeking proposals from consortia of organisations or individual researchers.

You can find out more about this project and how to apply in this seven page briefing document here.

If you have any questions, please contact our Office Manager, Rian Trim on recruitment@ellerman.org.uk.

Applications should be submitted by 5pm on 13 September 2021.

Here is some information of the first of the two funding initiatives we are launching this year as well.

A Collaborative Environment Fund for the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs)

We are contributing £800k to this fund, and invite other funders to join this collaboration or align their funding with it.

The environments of the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs) are of global significance: they hold 94% of our unique species, pristine rainforests, vast coral reefs, a quarter of the world’s penguins and the fifth largest marine estate on the planet. These small islands are at the forefront of our biodiversity and climate crises: three quarters of the world’s known extinctions since 1500 have occurred on islands, whilst extreme weather events pose a potentially existential threat.

As their biodiversity assets far exceed those in the mainland UK, the Territories offer funders incomparable impact and value for money. Building on our eight years of responsive grantmaking worth £1.8m in the UKOTs, that has achieved transformative impacts, we believe the UKOTs offer funders incomparable impact and value for money.

You can find out more about this collaborative funding initiative in this four page briefing document here.

If you are interested in learning more about this funding collaboration, please contact our Director, Sufina Ahmad on sufina@ellerman.org.uk.

Our plan is to accept applications for this fund from September to December 2021.

CfP SI Occupations and Memory in OS (JMS)

Call for Papers for a Special Issue

OCCUPATIONS AND MEMORY IN ORGANIZATION STUDIES

Submission Deadline: 30 November 2022

Guest Editors

  • Diego M. Coraiola, University of Victoria
  • Sébastien Mena, Hertie School
  • Mairi Maclean, University of Bath
  • Roy Suddaby, University of Victoria & Washington State University

JMS Editor

  • Daniel Muzio, University of York

Background

There is an intrinsic and enduring connection between occupations and memory. In the age before printing, mnemotechnics, or the “art of memory”, was a critical criterion of elite occupations in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies (Yates, 1966). The medieval guilds and craft apprenticeships, similarly, adapted techniques of memory handed down from the ancients as a discipline for training experts in religion, art, literature, and architecture (Kieser, 1989). Modernity and the expansion of bureaucracy have changed our relationship to the past (Koselleck, 1985). The development of a bureaucratic culture grounded on written records and the rise of historical memory has led to the development of new occupations and the reconfiguration of social remembering into ‘culturally institutionalized heritage’ (Assmann, 1995). As a result, the role of experts and institutions in preserving, organizing, and curating the past has changed profoundly in the modern era (Levine, 1986). The change is perhaps most pronounced for those experts charged with managing social and organizational memories in support of national policies (Anderson, 1983). More recently, the advent of analog and digital technologies for recording the past and the mediatization of society has introduced yet more changes to our relationship to the past and a new host of experts and practices of remembering and forgetting (Garde-Hansen, 2011). As this brief exploration suggests, expert work is both the outcome of and the source of collective memory work. In spite of the relevance of this recursive relationship, the intersection between occupations and memory is still under-studied and not well understood within management and organization studies.

Research on Occupations and Professions in Organizations (OPO) is a vivid area of scholarly activity that encompasses the study of professions, occupations, careers, and expert work (Anteby, Chan, & DiBenigno, 2016). In addition to more traditional functionalist and conflict-based approaches, organization scholars have recently developed an institutional approach that focuses on the parallel processes of professionalization and institutionalization (Muzio, Brock, & Suddaby, 2013; Suddaby & Viale, 2011). One of the advantages of studying occupations in connection to institutions is that it allows us to understand how they coevolve over time. This is relevant because “professional institutions are often unintelligible without reference to their historical development” (Burrage, 1990, p.18). However, the literature on OPO has not yet seriously grappled with the mnemonic component implicit in that formulation. In particular, OPO research has been little affected by the increasing attention to history and memory in organization studies (Clark & Rowlinson, 2004; Foroughi, Coraiola, Rintamäki, Mena, & Foster, 2020). Although historical research on professions and occupations has been on the rise (Burrage & Torstendahl, 1990), the focus has been on using historical methods to produce ‘history to theory’ (Kipping & Üsdiken, 2014). OPO scholars have generally ignored incorporation of memory, time, and history in theory. A better understanding of the role of the past and the place of memory in the development of expert work may contribute to the development of OPO theorizing.

The rise of Organizational Memory Studies (OMS) is associated with a renewed interest in memory in management and organization studies fostered by a realization that the past is not a given but is instead a social construction (Rowlinson, Booth, Clark, Delahaye, & Procter, 2010; Suddaby, Foster, & Trank, 2010). The past can be used to achieve organizational goals and generate competitive advantage (Foster, Coraiola, Suddaby, Kroezen, & Chandler, 2017; Maclean, Harvey, Sillince, & Golant, 2014; Suddaby, Coraiola, Harvey, & Foster, 2020). Indeed, empirical research has been largely based on single case studies and focused on the way top managers strategically use the past (e.g., Anteby & Molnár, 2012; Maclean, Harvey, Sillince, & Golant, 2018; Schultz & Hernes, 2013; Sinha, Jaskiewicz, Gibb, & Combs, 2020). This has limited the focus of studies to an organizational level of analysis, obscuring the connection between organizational memory and social institutions (Coraiola, Suddaby, & Foster, 2018; Ocasio, Mauskapf, & Steele, 2016). It has also attributed much agency to managers in shaping understandings of the past, with limited attention to other communities and occupations engaged in memory work (e.g., Cailluet, Gorge, & Özçağlar-Toulouse, 2018; Foroughi, 2020; Foster, Wiebe, Coraiola, Bastien, & Suddaby, 2021; Mena, Rintamäki, Fleming, & Spicer, 2016). There has been little work on how state institutions may seek to prevent remembering by marginalized communities (Maclean, Harvey, & Stringfellow, 2017). In other words, the micro and macro aspects of collective memory work are still poorly understood. More research is then needed to uncover how social institutions of memory impact organization and how the remembering and forgetting take place through the efforts of experts in organizational roles and outside of organizational boundaries.

Aims and Scope

The goal of this proposal is to foster the mutual development of the research on OPO (Anteby et al., 2016; Muzio et al., 2013) and OMS (Foroughi et al., 2020; Rowlinson et al., 2010). OMS is concerned with processes of remembering, forgetting, and representing the past in and around organizations (Coraiola, Barros, Maclean, & Foster, 2021). OPO studies the creation and legitimation of expert knowledge, the emergence of occupational communities, and the formation of boundaries and jurisdictions around professions (Abbott, 1988). So far, there has been limited cross-fertilization between these two research areas. Given the relevance of memory to the work of experts and the fundamental role experts play developing collective memory work, we call for more research on the intersection of the literature on OPO and OMS.

OMS scholars have focused on how the past can be reinterpreted and leveraged to achieve corporate goals (Suddaby et al., 2010; Wadhwani, Suddaby, Mordhorst, & Popp, 2018). They have paid less attention to the people doing memory work. Empirical research has focused on leaders and top managers, leaving other actors such as rank-and-file employees (e.g., Aeon & Lamertz, 2021; Foroughi & Al-Amoudi, 2020), the media (e.g., Cailluet et al., 2018), partner professional organizations (e.g., Coraiola & Derry, 2020) and other stakeholders such as NGOs (e.g., Mena et al., 2016) under-researched. Yet, many organizations hire professionals of memory such as archivists to manage their pasts (Foster et al., 2021; Lasewicz, 2015), often in dedicated archives and museums to preserve the memory of the company (Maclean et al., 2014; Nissley & Casey, 2002; Ravasi, Rindova, & Stigliani, 2019). Indeed, many organizations have realized that the past constitute social memory assets (Foster, Suddaby, Minkus, & Wiebe, 2011) that can be explored for marketing, advertising, and public relations (Illia & Zamparini, 2016; Misiura, 2006; Urde, Greyser, & Balmer, 2007). Apart from the memory work organizations do themselves, there are several professionals organizations that provide mnemonic services for a multiplicity of organizations such as The History Factory in the US (e.g., Weindruch, 2016), Grifo in Brazil, and the Centre for Business History in Sweden. The field of cultural memory and heritage has touched on content writers, tour guides, historical reenactors, museum curators, journalists, photographers, filmmakers, and influencers, but they still remain under-studied. With its focus on expert knowledge, the research on OPO can enrich our understanding of processes of remembering, forgetting, and representing the past taking place in and around organizations, and in particular the role of institutions and occupations therein.

Similarly, memory and history are assumed in OPO theories but hardly unpacked (Suddaby, Foster, & Mills, 2014). Although there has been growing historical research on occupations and professions (Burrage & Torstendahl, 1990), the past has been used as a field for testing OPO theories instead of a construct within OPO theorizing. Prior studies have focused on the emergence and diffusion of occupational categories (Baron, Dobbin, & Jennings, 1986; Dobbin, 1994), the transmission of professional norms and culture (Becker, Geer, Hughes, & Strauss, 1961; Orr, 1996), the historical gendering of professions (Arndt & Bigelow, 2005; Davies, 1996), and how professionals change and maintain institutions (Greenwood, Suddaby, & Hinings, 2002; Wright, Zammuto, & Liesch, 2017). These studies use constructs such as professionalization and institutionalization that assume that a community with claims about a body of knowledge becomes progressively accepted and endures over time (Abbott, 1988; Suddaby & Viale, 2011). In addition, institutional approaches to OPO use a variety of historical metaphors such as ‘sedimentation’ (Cooper, Hinings, Greenwood, & Brown, 1996), ‘layering’ (Thelen, 2004), and ‘legacies’ (Schneiberg, 2007) to capture the cumulation of remnants from the past and their translation across time and space (Daudigeos, 2013; Goodrick & Reay, 2011; Kipping & Kirkpatrick, 2013). OPO research also focuses on processes of categorization, socialization, and legitimation (Berger & Luckmann, 1967; Douglas, 1986), which presume the transmission of institutional contents and practices across generations of occupational members and the influence of past actions and decisions upon the present. OMS research can make explicit these assumptions about the past and help conceptualize the role of history and memory in OPO research (Kipping & Üsdiken, 2014).

This special issue builds on some disparate initial efforts connecting the two literatures. For example, Quattrone (2009) shows how the success of accounting was attached to the ancient practice of the art of memory. Suddaby & Greenwood (2005) report how history was used as a symbolic resource to gather legitimacy by a big accounting firm. Foster et al (2021) develop a model of memory work of corporate historians and archivists in Fortune 500 companies. Coraiola and Derry (2020) describe the central role played by lawyers and law firms in sustaining the strategy of social forgetting undertaken by US Big Tobacco. Blagoev, Felten, Kahn (2018) analyze how curators and catalogers constructed new affordances for technologies of memory within the British Museum. Nilsson & Blume (2021) reflect on the historical influence of gendering in the professionalization of textile conservators in Sweden. Crawford, Coraiola, & Dacin (In press) theorize how the memory work of boat guides contributed to preserve the Grand Canyon. Schultz & Hernes (2013) and Hatch and Schultz (2017) study the changes induced by external consultants’ revisiting of the organizational collective memory in Lego and Carlsberg. And Mena and Rintamäki (2020) together with Stutz and Schrempf-Stirling (2020) discuss the responsibility of managers and corporate archivists in reconstructing the past of the organization in relation to corporate social responsibility.

Topics of Interest

We encourage contributions focused on, but not limited to, the following four themes:

1. Institutions of memory and the institutionalization of mnemonic practices: Institutions ‘direct and control’ (Douglas, 1986) the memory of a community. At the same time, social institutions are influenced by collective memory (Ocasio et al., 2016). Modernity fostered the emergence of new areas of expertise about the past encapsulated in ‘institutions of memory’, i.e. schools, archives, libraries, museums (Anderson, 1983). Recently, several other organizations have been influencing the way we define, engage with, and understand the past (e.g., Ancestry, Facebook, me too, Black Lives Matter). These developments raise several questions such as: How expertise about the past has changed with the rise of new technologies? How do new forms of expertise and organization shape the way we see the past? How do they impact on the memory work of organizations and their narratives about the past? How do experts inside and outside organizations contribute to the remembering, forgetting, and representing the past? What is the role of the media and social media in shaping our understanding of the past? How do social movements change the texture of the past?

2. Professional projects, collective identities and institutional work: Experts engage in collective projects to achieve legitimacy and establish jurisdictions. The past can be a source of symbolic resources for the development of professional projects and institutional work. The past can also be an arena in which different occupations compete to legitimate their knowledge. Within an organizational field, professional organizations and experts alike may find in the past a source for constructing a distinctive identity and innovate in the creation of new categories. Some related questions include: What role does memory play in collective action? How is memory work and institutional work related? What is the role of tradition in expert practice? How do professions and organizations rework the past for institutional change and maintenance? How are past rituals, ceremonies and attire used for the construction professional identities? How our changing relationship with the past contributes to the emergence of new occupations (e.g., fact checker, genealogist, living historian) and the revitalization of old crafts (e.g., brewmaster, tailor, leatherworker)?

3. Professionals in organizations and professional organizations: Memory work can be internalized or outsourced. The challenges memory experts face, the way they behave and use their expert judgement, and the practices they engage into may vary depending on the autonomy given to expert workers and the form of governance in which they are organized. The state has been the traditional home for memory experts. However, the recognition of the past as a source of competitive advantage has led many business organizations to create corporate archives and history departments, and to develop other projects based on the past. In addition, growing demand has fostered the emergence of a heritage industry with several professional organizations dedicated to managing the past. Some possible questions in this theme include: What role do archivists and historians play in organizations? How do they use their expert judgement? How have these new organizational occupations developed? How does internal and external memory work differ? How do professional organizations develop memory work? How do heritage experts and organizations rework and represent the past? How has the cultural heritage industry coevolved with heritage experts?

4. Politics of remembering, professional responsibility and ethics: Memory is power-laden. Social groups and organizations often compete in their interpretations of the past. In addition, every act of remembering, forgetting, and representing the past involves a powerful moral and normative component. The way we remember the past sets the tone for what we do in the present and how it should be remembered for the future. The past can be either a source of pride or shame. Expert knowledge is used to remember and forget the good and the bad in different communities of memory. In this sense, there are important implications connecting the work of experts with issues of social and historical responsibility and ethics. Questions related to this theme would include: What are the ethical standards binding the work of memory experts? How do they manage the ethical dilemmas of managing the past? How are memory and professional misconduct related? How do experts deal with the dark past of organizations? What is the role of experts in processes of historical (in)justice?

Submission Process and Deadlines

Manuscript Development Workshop

The authors asked to revise and resubmit (R&R) their papers will also be invited to a manuscript development workshop (to be held in the first half of 2023; location and other details to be announced at a later date). During the workshop they will have the opportunity to present and discuss their papers with other attendees and the guest editors. Please note that participation in the workshop does not guarantee acceptance of the paper in the Special Issue. Likewise, attendance is also not a prerequisite for paper acceptance.

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Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Sillince, J. A. A. and Golant, B. D. (2014). ‘Living up to the past? Ideological sensemaking in organizational transition’. Organization, 21, 543-67.

Maclean, M., Harvey, C., Sillince, J. A. A. and Golant, B. D. (2018). ‘Intertextuality, Rhetorical History and the Uses of the Past in Organizational Transition’. Organization Studies, 39, 1733-55.

Mena, S. and Rintamäki, J. (2020). ‘Managing the Past Responsibly: A Collective Memory Perspective on Responsibility, Sustainability and Ethics’. In O. Laasch, D. Jamali, R. E. Freeman and R. Suddaby (Eds.), The research handbook on responsible management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 470-83.

Mena, S., Rintamäki, J., Fleming, P. and Spicer, A. (2016). ‘On the Forgetting of Corporate Irresponsibility’. Academy of Management Review, 41, 720-38.

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Muzio, D., Brock, D. M. and Suddaby, R. (2013). ‘Professions and Institutional Change: Towards an Institutionalist Sociology of the Professions’. Journal of Management Studies, 50, 699-721.

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Ocasio, W., Mauskapf, M. and Steele, C. (2016). ‘History, Society, and Institutions: The Role of Collective Memory in the Emergence and Evolution of Societal Logics’. Academy of Management Review, 41, 676-99.

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CHRONOS Distinguished Online Lecture: Martin Kornberger (23 September)

The CHRONOS research centre at Royal Holloway University of London invites you to the ‘CHRONOS 2021 distinguished on-line lecture’ with Prof Martin Kornberger, 23 September 2021, 2-4pm UK time (via MS team).

About CHRONOS
CHRONOS is the Centre for Critical and Historical Research on Organization and Society. Our guiding purpose is to uncover the social and cultural dimensions and implications of any subject matter, interrogating and questioning mainstream approaches and practices as a way to make a positive difference for organisations, markets and society. We are based at the School of Business and Management at Royal Holloway, but we work with colleagues in other disciplines at Royal Holloway, especially History and Geography, and through partnerships with research groups at other institutions within and outside the UK. For more information visit our website.
Our main work streams are on:

  • Bureaucracy, Accountability and Control;
  • Critical Consumption and the Politics of Markets;
  • Identity and working life;
  • Silent Voices: Feminist and Subaltern Perspectives;
  • Space and Time in Organizations.

Director of CHRONOS: Prof. Elena Giovannoni (Elena.giovannoni@rhul.ac.uk)

Prof. Martin Kornberger will be talking about:

THE EMERGENCE OF A SOCIAL ACTOR:
THE CASE OF THE VIENNA CITY ADMINISTRATION AT THE FIN THE SIÈCLE

Abstract

This manuscript reports results of a preliminary inquiry into the formation of the City of Vienna as collective social actor at the turn of the 20th century. We use computational text analysis of administrative reports from 1867 to 1913 and an archival case-study to explain drastic increases in administrative capacity and autonomy during the Fin de Siècle. In its most formative period, the city was recovering from an economic crash and bureaucratic rationality was challenged by intellectuals and illiberal politicians alike. These conditions are inconsistent with legal-rational and institutional theories that explain the formation of organizational actorhood in the contemporary era; our analysis shows that the city’s formation reflected neither expansionist ideology nor the ambitions of a political machine nor delegation from a crumbling Empire. Instead, we observe the formation of the city as a collective social actor as a process in which (1) the capacity to act of the city’s administrative apparatus develops hand in hand with (2) the city’s increasingly differentiated and complex vision of its environment. Our analysis of this feedback loop contributes to sociological theories of actorhood and the understanding of the progressive welfare model as driven by categorical differentiation. 

Short bio 

Martin Kornberger received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Vienna in 2002. Currently he holds a Chair in Strategy at the University of Edinburgh and is a visiting fellow at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. His research focuses on strategies for and organization of new forms of distributed and collective action. He can be reached at martin.kornberger@ed.ac.uk 

To attend the lecture, please email: elena.giovannoni@rhul.ac.uk 

Second HiMOS virtual seminar

We are excited to invite you to our next HiMOS virtual seminar (https://historymos.wordpress.com/). The aim of this seminar series is to help open up the black box of “practicing” history in the context of management and organization studies. 

We are very proud to have another great lineup of speakers sharing their insights and workshopping their papers, including Eero Vaara (Saïd Oxford, keynote), Christina Lubinski (Copenhagen Business School), and Antti Sihvonen (JSBE). 

Event details: 

Date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Time:   2pm-5pm (UTC+2, Finland)

1pm-4pm (UTC+1, Central European Time)

Noon-3pm (UTC+0, UK)

Please register by click here

After the registration, you will receive the Zoom link, passcode, and the full version of the working papers one week before the seminar.

Program

Keynote: 

Eero Vaara (Saïd Oxford): ”How to learn from unusual organizations?”

Working paper presentations:

Christina Lubinski (Copenhagen Business School): ”The Sound of Opportunity: Aural Temporality, Entrepreneurial Opportunity & the Evolution of Markets” (with Dan Wadhwani, University of Southern California)

Antti Sihvonen (JSBE): “Chance, Strategy and Change: The Structure of Contingency in the Evolution of the Nokia Corporation, 1986–2015” (with Jaakko Aspara, NEOMA; Juha-Antti Lamberg, JSBE; Henrikki Tikkanen, Aalto)

HiMOS is organized by the Strategy and Entrepreneurship research group of Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics (JSBE). The purpose of the seminar series is the advancement of historical research in management and organization studies. Seminars are organized twice per year. In each seminar we will have one keynote speaker with a recent history-related publication sharing their insights and experiences and 2–3 advanced working paper presentations. 

If you are interested in presenting in future seminars, contact the organizers Zeerim Cheung (zeerim.cheung@jyu.fi) and Christian Stutz (christian.stutz@jyu.fi).

We are looking forward to your participation!

Reconstructing the B-School

Reblogged from NEP-HIS:

Mitch Larson very kindly reviewed our article in Business History: “Clio in the Business School: Historical Approaches in Strategy, International Business and Entrepreneurship”, which the publishers have made available for free for a time: Business History, 59(6): 904-27

Review by Mitchell J. Larson (University of Central Lancashire)

Recently Martin Parker (Bristol) has taken to the airwaves promoting the idea of bulldozing the business school. In sharp contrast, Andrew Perchard, Niall MacKenzie, Stephanie Decker, and Giovanni Favero make a compelling case for certain disciplines in the management sciences to open themselves to alternative methodological and epistemological approaches. They argue that the fields of strategy, international business, and entrepreneurship have not embraced historically-oriented research to the same extent as other fields within business and management studies. The authors also admit that many scholars conducting historical business research have not made a sufficiently solid case about the robustness of their historical methodology(s) or data to convince other social scientists about the validity of their claims. Drawing upon an impressive range of previous works to develop their discussion, the paper attempts to reconcile these discrepancies to highlight how a more explicit articulation of the historian’s process could overcome the concerns of ‘mainstream’ management scholars regarding theorization and methodology in these three fields specifically and in management studies generally.

To continue reading, click here: https://nephist.wordpress.com/2018/07/24/reconstructing-the-b-school/

 

CfP: Companies and organizations in a historical perspective

ASSI CONFERENCE 2018

Companies and organizations in a historical perspective

Bocconi University, Milan
20-21 December 2018

Call for papers
An organization is the result of a conscious effort to create channels of authority and communication in the productive activity of the company, as well as in the allocation of resources and the evaluation of their performance. The organizational challenge typically emerges when a company achieves a certain quantitative threshold in terms of size, turning the need for organization into a key issue. Below this threshold, the internal dynamics of a company and the relationships among the actors which operate inside it are usually spontaneous, and don’t require formalization. In more recent times, however, within the contemporary global and technological environment, small companies also face the issue of adopting an appropriate organizational structure.
How much does organizational design matter for a company? Can an inappropriate organization react promptly to changes in strategy?
Evidence proves that there isn’t an organizational formula which works for all companies over time and space. The best organization is the one able to mobilize, in the most efficient way, the resources of a company. Since the 1950s, for instance, industrial sociologists have demonstrated that Taylorism is not an organization of production that works for all sectors. It used to be the best way to manage the mass production of standardized products, but not the most efficient way to manage manufacturing in, say, the chemical and metal industries, or the production of big single pieces such as in the shipbuilding industry.
In the same way, a form of enterprise which gathers unrelated activities under the same roof can be at the origin of heterogeneous results according to the different kind of control exercised by headquarters.
Even though organization became an issue around the time of the Industrial Revolution, organizational matters were certainly not irrelevant in the life of large pre-industrial companies such as banks, trading companies, and arsenals.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that organization goes beyond the single company and includes also alliances among different companies aimed at controlling a market (cartels), networks and groups of enterprises, and geographical areas, as in the case of the industrial districts in which the production of a good is achieved through a sophisticated horizontal and vertical division of labor.
We ask that proposals have the “black box” — represented by the relationship between companies and their organization– at the center of their analysis, considering, for example, topics such as the genesis of an organization, the critical tangles of the connection between corporate strategies and organization, the successes and failures of organizational forms, the role of immaterial determinants in defining the organizational design, the relationship between the entrepreneur and the organization, the creation and resilience of managerial capabilities, or the interaction between formal and informal organization.
Contributions related to any industry, geographical area, and historical period are welcome.

Conference languages will be English and Italian.
Proposals of no more than 400-600 words together with a CV should be sent to: segreteria@assi-web.it, by September 20th, 2018. Decisions will be sent by October 5th, 2018.
For proposals that are accepted, the author(s) will be required to send either a paper of 7,000-9,000 words, or a long-abstract (approximately 1,500 words) of the presentation by November 30th, 2018.

Aston Organizational History Workshop

Aston Organizational History Workshop

20 June 2018, 12-4pm

RDP seminar room, Main Building South Wing 11th floor

Aston Business School

Aston Triangle

Birmingham B4 7ET

 

12.00-13.30       Buffet Lunch

12.00-13.00       Alex Gillett and Kevin Tennent, York Management School – Dynamic sublimes: the 1966 FIFA World Cup
[in conjunction with EFE departmental seminar research series]

13.30-14.15       Adam Nix, Aston Business School – Between sources and stuff: initial perspectives from the Enron Corpus

14.15-15.00       Amon Barros, FGV-EAESP, and Scott Taylor, Birmingham Business School – The role of Brazilian think tanks in the public debate on management and organizations.

15.00-15.15       Coffee break

15.15-16.00       Michael Butler, Aston Business School, and Ann Cunliffe, FGV-EAESP – The Dent in the Floor: Learning Craft from Organizational History – A Carnal Sociology

 

The workshop is free to attend, but so that we have an idea of numbers, please RSVP to s.decker[at]aston.ac.uk