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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2009

Agnès Delahaye, Charles Booth, Peter Clark, Stephen Procter and Michael Rowlinson

This paper seeks to identify and define the genre of corporate history within the pervasive historical discourse produced by and about organizations which tells the past…

3344

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to identify and define the genre of corporate history within the pervasive historical discourse produced by and about organizations which tells the past of an organization across a multiplicity of texts: published works – commissioned and critical accounts, academic tomes and glossy coffee‐table books – as well as web pages, annual reports and promotional pamphlets.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of systematic reading of historical narratives for 85 mainly British and US companies from the Fortune Global 500. For these companies, a search was carried out for US printed sources in the British Library and a survey was conducted of historical content in web pages.

Findings

From extensive reading of the historical discourse, recurrent formal features (medium, authorship, publication, paratext and imagery) and elements of thematic content (narrative, characters, cultural paradigms and business success), which together define the genre of corporate history, have been identified. Such a definition provides competence in the reading of historical narratives of organizations and raises questions regarding the role of history in organizational identity, memory and communication. In conclusion it is argued that the interpretation of corporate history cannot be reduced to its promotional function for organizations.

Research limitations/implications

The list of the formal features and thematic content of corporate history detailed here is by no means exhaustive. They are not variables, but signs, which, in various combinations, compose the narrative and signify the genre.

Practical implications

It seems likely that coffee‐table books will increasingly replace academic commissioned histories, with consultants professionalizing the discourse and formalizing the genre of corporate history.

Originality/value

The genre of corporate history has hitherto been neglected in organization theory, where the linguistic turn has led to a preoccupation with talk as text. The use of genre to analyse corporate history represents a textual turn to literary organizational texts as text.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 22 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 9 October 2009

Anna Blombäck and Olof Brunninge

The purpose of this paper is to focus on how firms draw on historical references in corporate marketing. The paper seeks to analyze the logic behind such efforts from a…

3562

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on how firms draw on historical references in corporate marketing. The paper seeks to analyze the logic behind such efforts from a corporate identity perspective and to propose potential risks and/or benefits of doing so. The paper aims to inspire the understanding of how references to history are used in marketing and the outcome of such use.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper mainly draws on literature relating to corporate marketing and the use of history in organizations. Combining these theories, and pointing at empirical examples, the paper clarifies why references to history can be important manifestations of corporate identity. The paper comes up with propositions concerning what consequences the reference to history in corporate marketing can have for firms' marketing strategies and business development.

Findings

The paper outlines a connection among corporate identity, organizational identity, and image through corporate communications. It suggests that among the range of corporate characteristics, historical references can be particular valuable for corporate communications thanks to the reliability age can provide (as opposed to liabilities of newness). Still, elaborations suggest that the planned use of historical references has both pros and cons in terms of business development.

Originality/value

Despite the notion that history, as an inevitable and distinctive firm feature, can play an important role in corporate marketing, research on the topic is quite scarce. This paper offers some remedy to this gap by elaborating on the internal and external rationales for applying historical references and how these can be explained in connections between corporate identity and history.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 August 2013

Anna Blombäck and Olof Brunninge

This paper seeks to uncover why and how the combination of family and company history in family businesses implies idiosyncratic opportunities in the process to uncover…

2349

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to uncover why and how the combination of family and company history in family businesses implies idiosyncratic opportunities in the process to uncover, activate, and nurture heritage‐based corporate identities and brands.

Design/methodology/approach

The discussion is specifically informed by the literatures on brand heritage, family business, and the notion of hybrid identities. To illustrate this typology of history communication in family businesses the paper relies on web site observations in Sweden and German‐based family businesses.

Findings

Based on the construct of brand heritage, the paper clarifies why the entwinement of family and business provides fertile ground for brand heritage. The presentation of a typology of ways to communicate family, business and family business history respectively further reveals the varying openings and practices of family businesses in this area.

Research limitations/implications

The paper primarily takes an external marketing orientation and is conceptual.

Practical implications

The distinction of two sources of brand heritage in family businesses and the typology of approaches to reflect history in corporate communications should be of interest for practitioners. The findings can serve as an eye‐opener and instrument in the planning of strategic marketing.

Originality/value

The paper focuses on brand heritage and heritage branding from a family business perspective. Being hybrid identity organizations, characterized by entwinement of family and company history, family businesses offer particular perspectives to the heritage brand discussion.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 18 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 May 2009

John M.T. Balmer

The principal purposes of this paper are to provide normative advice in terms of managing the British Monarchy as a Corporate Heritage Brand and to reveal the efficacy of…

4026

Abstract

Purpose

The principal purposes of this paper are to provide normative advice in terms of managing the British Monarchy as a Corporate Heritage Brand and to reveal the efficacy of examining a brand's history for corporate heritage brands generally.

Design/methodology/approach

Taking a case history approach, the paper examines critical events in the Crown's history. It is also informed by the diverse literatures on the British Monarchy and also marshals the identity literatures and the nascent literature relating to corporate brands. Six critical incidents that have shaped the monarchy over the last millennium provide the principal data source.

Findings

In scrutinising key events from the institution's historiography it was found that the management and maintenance of the Crown as a corporate brand entail concern with issues relating to: continuity (maintaining heritage and symbolism); visibility (having a meaningful and prominent public profile); strategy (anticipating and enacting change); sensitivity (rapid response to crises); respectability (retaining public favour); and empathy (acknowledging that brand ownership resides with the public). Taking an integrationist perspective, the efficacy of adopting a corporate marketing approach/philosophy is also highlighted.

Practical implications

A framework for managing Corporate Heritage is outlined and is called “Chronicling the Corporate Brand”. In addition to Bagehot's dictum that the British Monarch had a constitutional obligation to encourage, advise and warn the government of the day, the author concludes that the Sovereign has a critical societal role and must be dutiful, devoted and dedicated to Her (His) subjects.

Originality/value

This is one of the first papers to examine the British Monarchy through a corporate branding lens. It confirms that the Crown is analogous to a corporate brand and, therefore, ought to be managed as such.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 47 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 9 July 2010

Roy Suddaby, William M. Foster and Chris Quinn Trank

This paper develops a framework for understanding history as a source of competitive advantage. Prior research suggests that some firms enjoy preferential access to…

Abstract

This paper develops a framework for understanding history as a source of competitive advantage. Prior research suggests that some firms enjoy preferential access to resources as a result of their past. Historians, by contrast, understand past events as more than an objective account of reality. History also has an interpretive function. History is a social and rhetorical construction that can be shaped and manipulated to motivate, persuade, and frame action, both within and outside an organization. Viewed as a malleable construct, the capacity to manage history can, itself, be a rare and inimitable resource.

Details

The Globalization of Strategy Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-898-8

Article
Publication date: 1 May 1983

Gilbert Tauber

Since the mid‐1970s, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of major corporations that have established archives or retained professional historians. Some of…

Abstract

Since the mid‐1970s, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of major corporations that have established archives or retained professional historians. Some of this may be attributable to simple nostalgia—a sort of corporate after‐ripple of the Roots phenomenon. But in most cases, the reason appears to have been awareness, usually on the part of a CEO, that the firm has lost track of strategic information it cannot prudently do without.

Details

Planning Review, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0094-064X

Article
Publication date: 30 September 2014

Mario Burghausen and John M.T. Balmer

The repertories of the corporate past perspective is introduced and articulated and is placed with the corporate communications and corporate marketing domains. The…

1447

Abstract

Purpose

The repertories of the corporate past perspective is introduced and articulated and is placed with the corporate communications and corporate marketing domains. The framework consolidates and expands the comprehension of multifarious actualisations of the past as a corporate-level phenomenon. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review, which draws on the extant corporate heritage literature within corporate marketing and corporate communications along with other salient perspectives within social sciences, is integrated into a conceptual framework of past-related corporate-level concepts.

Findings

The paper advances the extant literature by making a distinction between instrumental and foundational past-related corporate-level concepts. A framework is introduced and articulated detailing seven different modes of referencing the past of an organisation: corporate past, corporate memory, corporate history, corporate tradition, corporate heritage, corporate nostalgia, and corporate provenance.

Research limitations/implications

The paper clarifies the current state of this nascent field of corporate marketing and communication scholarship concerned with the historicity of corporate-level phenomena and advances the conceptual understanding of the multiple ways in which links with an organisation's past can be understood and scrutinised offering an integrated framework of seven conceptual lenses for future research.

Practical implications

Managers, by more fully comprehending the repertoires of the corporate past, are, the authors argue, better placed to discern whether the past is of material benefit to their organisations. If so, the repertoires of the corporate past perspective may enable managers to more effectively manage, maintain, and capitalise on their organisation's past in multiple ways.

Originality value

This paper is substantively informed by both the corporate heritage literature and the salient literature from the social sciences. The introduction of a repertoire of the corporate past framework, arguably, represents an important contribution to the domain.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 November 2019

Dalila Brown, Pantea Foroudi and Khalid Hafeez

This paper aims to explore the relationship between corporate cultural/intangible assets and marketing capabilities by examining managers’ and entrepreneurs’ perceptions…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the relationship between corporate cultural/intangible assets and marketing capabilities by examining managers’ and entrepreneurs’ perceptions in a retail setting.

Design/methodology/approach

Nineteen face-to-face interviews were conducted with UK small and medium sized enterprise (SMEs) managers and entrepreneurs to identify six sub-capabilities that form marketing capability. The authors further validated the relationship between marketing sub-capabilities and its antecedent tangible and intangible assets. The qualitative approach used provided a deeper insight into the motivations, perceptions and associations of the stakeholders behind these intangible concepts, and their relationships with their customers.

Findings

The research identified that there is a strong relationship between tangible and intangible assets, their components and the following capabilities: corporate/brand identity management, market sensing, customer relationship, social media/communication, design/innovation management and performance management. In addition, companies need to understand clearly what tangible and intangible assets comprise these capabilities. Where performance management is one of the key internal capabilities, companies must highlight the importance of strong cultural assets that substantially contribute to a company’s performance.

Originality/value

Previous work on dynamic capability analysis is too generic, predominantly relating to the manufacturing sector, and/or focussing on using a single case study example. This study extends the concept of marketing capability in a retail setting by identifying six sub-capabilities and describing the relationship of each with tangible and intangible assets. Through extensive qualitative analysis, the authors provide evidence that by fully exploiting their embedded culture and other intangible components, companies can more favourably engage with their customers to attain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Book part
Publication date: 25 March 2010

Christine M. Beckman

When first asked to write a chapter on “Corporate Networks,” I was flummoxed by the Stanford focus. Unlike many of the other theories in this volume, where a game of word…

Abstract

When first asked to write a chapter on “Corporate Networks,” I was flummoxed by the Stanford focus. Unlike many of the other theories in this volume, where a game of word association by theory results in a roster of current or emeritus Stanford faculty members, corporate network has roots in many institutions. Indeed, institutions such as University of Chicago or Stonybrook may make a claim for being at the forefront of research on corporate networks, and University of Michigan is the current home to three of the top researchers in the area. Yet, among the core network researchers, a good number of them either spent their early faculty years at Stanford (e.g., Pam Haunschild, Don Palmer, Joel Podolny) or completed doctoral training at Stanford (e.g., Jerry Davis, Henrich Greve, Toby Stuart, Christine Beckman). And this list does not include those that came to Stanford later in their careers (e.g., Mark Granovetter and Woody Powell). Furthermore, the history of corporate network research is intertwined with many of the theories developed at Stanford during the late 1970s. To understand this influence, I begin with a brief but broad history of research on corporate networks, a history that begins somewhat earlier than 1970 and continues to the present. Then I turn to the question of Stanford's role in supporting this research stream and intellectual life more broadly.

Details

Stanford's Organization Theory Renaissance, 1970–2000
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-930-5

Article
Publication date: 9 May 2016

Clive R. Boddy

The purpose of this paper is to present evidence to examine the possible psychopathy of Robert Maxwell, a notorious figure in UK business history.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present evidence to examine the possible psychopathy of Robert Maxwell, a notorious figure in UK business history.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents research which retrospectively applied a tool to measure whether leading figures in twentieth century business history could be classified as being corporate psychopaths. As background to this idea, psychopaths and corporate psychopaths are defined. A measure of corporate psychopathy is explored as an aid to identifying corporate psychopaths in business history. This measure is then used in relation to senior corporate executives who have been nominated as potential corporate psychopaths and to Robert Maxwell in particular.

Findings

The paper concludes that at least some ethical scandals and failures such as those at The Daily Mirror have been characterized by the presence of CEOs who scored highly on a measure of corporate psychopathy. Maxwell’s fraudulent raiding of corporate pension funds crossed ethical and legal borders. Furthermore, Maxwell’s fraudulent looting of those pension funds crossed generational boundaries; stealing from older people’s pension funds and thereby leaving younger people/investors with less to inherit. Maxwell also had an international business empire and so his fraud had effects which crossed geographic borders. The paper concludes that using an historical approach to the study of potential corporate psychopaths illuminates what types of organizational outcomes corporate psychopaths may eventuate.

Originality/value

The paper is the first to use an historical approach to the study of potential corporate psychopaths.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

Keywords

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