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Article
Publication date: 5 October 2020

Bradley Bowden and Peta Stevenson-Clarke

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in…

Abstract

Purpose

Postmodernist ideas – most particularly those of Foucault but also those of Latour, Derrida and Barthes – have had a much longer presence in accounting research than in other business disciplines. However, in large part, the debates in accounting history and management history, have moved in parallel but separate universes. The purpose of this study is therefore one of exploring not only critical accounting understandings that are significant for management history but also one of highlighting conceptual flaws that are common to the postmodernist literature in both accounting and management history.

Design/methodology/approach

Foucault has been seminal to the critical traditions that have emerged in both accounting research and management history. In exploring the usage of Foucault’s ideas, this paper argues that an over-reliance on a set of Foucauldian concepts – governmentality, “disciplinary society,” neo-liberalism – that were never conceived with an eye to the problems of accounting and management has resulted in not only in the drawing of some very longbows from Foucault’s formulations but also misrepresentations of the French philosophers’ ideas.

Findings

Many, if not most, of the intellectual positions associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History – that knowledge is inherently subjective, that management involves exercising power at distance, that history is a social construct that is used to legitimate capitalism and management – were argued in the critical accounting literature long before Clark and Rowlinson’s (2004) oft cited call. Indeed, the “call” for a “New Accounting History” issued by Miller et al. (1991) played a remarkably similar role to that made by Clark and Rowlinson in management and organizational studies more than a decade later.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore the marked similarities between the critical accounting literature, most particularly that related to the “New Accounting History” and that associated with the “Historic Turn” and ANTi-History in management and organizational studies.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 5 July 2017

Abstract

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Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-546-7

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Article
Publication date: 20 October 2020

Nicholous M. Deal, Milorad M. Novicevic, Albert J. Mills, Caleb W. Lugar and Foster Roberts

This paper aims to find common ground between the supposed incompatible meta-historical positioning of positivism and post-positivism through a turn to mnemohistory in…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to find common ground between the supposed incompatible meta-historical positioning of positivism and post-positivism through a turn to mnemohistory in management and organizational history.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the idea of creative synthesis and positioning theory, the authors interject concepts from cultural memory studies in historical research on business and organizations to encourage management historians and organization theorists interested in joining the dialogue around how the past is known in the present. Using notions of “aftermath” and “events,” the idea of apositivism is written into historical organization studies to focus on understanding the complex ways of how past events translate into history. The critical historic turn event is raised as an exemplar of these ideas.

Findings

The overview of the emergence of the controversial historic turn in management and organization studies and the positioning of its adherents and antagonists revealed that there may be some commonality between the fragmented sense of the field. It was revealed that effective history vis-à-vis mnemohistory may hold the potential of a shared scholarly ethic.

Originality/value

The research builds on recent work that has sought to bring together the boundaries of management and organizational history. This paper explains how mnemohistory can offer a common position that is instrumental for theorizing the relationships among the past-infused constructs such as organizational heritage, legacy and identity.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 1 September 2017

Abstract

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The Ideological Evolution of Human Resource Management
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-389-2

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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2015

Daniel L. Duke

– The purpose of this paper is to present a rationale for organizational histories of schools and school districts and discuss the findings of selected examples of the genre.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a rationale for organizational histories of schools and school districts and discuss the findings of selected examples of the genre.

Design/methodology/approach

The author presents a vignette of an organizational history, discusses key elements of the methodology, and offers seven ways in which organizational histories address important issues in educational research.

Findings

A case is made, using actual examples of research, that organizational histories of schools and school districts can contribute to testing existing theory, developing new theory, describing how educational change occurs, accounting for the sustainability of educational change, explaining organizational continuity over time, understanding school and district responses to persistent social issues, and balancing an over-emphasis on the impact of school and district leaders.

Originality/value

The paper draws on the author’s original contributions to organizational history as well as the contributions of his doctoral students and others.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 53 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Connecting Values to Action: Non-Corporeal Actants and Choice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-308-2

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2021

Rene Arseneault, Nicholous M. Deal and Jean Helms Mills

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question of where the course of the collective efforts in historical research on business and organizations has taken this…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to answer the question of where the course of the collective efforts in historical research on business and organizations has taken this discipline. By raising two key contributions that have sought to reshape the contours of management and organizational history, the authors trace the work of their field since their inception and, in doing so, critique the utility of these typologies as representative of diverse historical knowledge in management and organization studies (MOS).

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on elements of an integrative review that seeks to critically appraise the foundation of knowledge built in a scholarly field, the authors interrogate the historical knowledge that has been (and is being) produced in three leading management and organizational history journals by synthesizing the posture history takes as an object and subject of study in MOS. Over 400 articles were closely examined and categorized using Rowlinson et al.’s (2014) research strategies in organizational history and Maclean et al.’s (2016) four conceptions of history. Then, this research was used to examine the integrity of these two typologies and their practice by management historians.

Findings

The bulk of the work our field has produced mirrors an analytically structured history feel – where “doing history” straddles careful divide between data analysis and narrative construction. Narrating as a conception of history used in organization studies research remains the most subscribed representation of the past. It was found that while some work may fit within these typologies, others especially those considered peripheral of mainstream history are difficult to confine to any one strategy or conception. The authors’ examination also found some potential for a creative synthesis between the two typologies.

Research limitations/implications

Because only three management history journals are used in this analysis, bracketed by the choice of the periodization (between 2016 and 2019 inclusive), this study must not be viewed as being wholly representative of all historical research on business and organizations writ-large.

Practical implications

This research attempts to demonstrate the recent direction management and organizational historians have taken in crafting history. The authors embrace the opportunity to allow for this paper to act as a tool to familiarize a much broader audience to understand what has been constituted as historical research in MOS to-date and is especially useful to those who are already contributing to the field (e.g. doctoral students and junior scholars who have demonstrable interest in taking up historically inspired dissertations, articles, chapters and conference activities).

Originality/value

The research conducted in this article contributes to the debates that have sought to define the scholastic character of management and organizational history. The authors build on recent calls to take part in creating dialogue between and among each other, building on the collective efforts that advance history in both theory and practice.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 27 November 2018

Eeva Aromaa, Päivi Eriksson, Jean Helms Mills, Esa Hiltunen, Maarit Lammassaari and Albert J. Mills

The purpose of this paper is to analyze current literature on critical sensemaking (CSM) to assess its significance and potential for understanding the role of agency in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze current literature on critical sensemaking (CSM) to assess its significance and potential for understanding the role of agency in management and organizational studies.

Design/methodology/approach

The analysis involves an examination of a selection of 51 applied studies that cite, draw on and contribute to CSM, to assess the challenges and potential of utilizing CSM.

Findings

The paper reveals the range of organizational issues that this work has been grappling with; the unique insights that CSM has revealed in the study of management and organizations; and some of the challenges and promises of CSM for studying agency in context. This sets up discussion of organizational issues and insights provided by CSM to reveal its potential in dealing with issues of agency in organizations. The sheer scope of CSM studies indicates that it has relevance for a range of management researchers, including those interested in behavior at work, theories of organization, leadership and crisis management, diversity management, emotion, ethics and justice, and many more.

Research limitations/implications

The main focus is restricted to providing a working knowledge of CSM rather than other approaches to agency.

Practical implications

The paper outlines the challenges and potential for applying the CSM theory.

Social implications

The paper reveals the range of problem-solving issues that CSM studies have been applied to.

Originality/value

This is the first major review of the challenges and potential of applying CSM; concluding with a discussion of its strengths and limitations and providing a summary of insights for future work.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 14 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Article
Publication date: 27 August 2020

Bradley Bowden

Management history has in the past 15 years witnessed growing enthusiasm for “critical” research methodologies associated with the so-called “historic turn”. This paper…

Abstract

Purpose

Management history has in the past 15 years witnessed growing enthusiasm for “critical” research methodologies associated with the so-called “historic turn”. This paper aims to argue, however, that the “historic turn” has proved to an “historic wrong turn”, typically associated with confused and contradictory positions. In consequence, Foucault’s belief that knowledge is rooted in discourse, and that both are rooted in external structures of power, is used while simultaneously professing advocacy of White’s understanding that history is fictive, the product of the historian’s imagination.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper explores the intellectual roots of the historic (wrong) turn in the idealist philosophies of Nietzsche, Croce, Foucault, White and Latour as well as the critiques that have been made of those theories from within “critical” or “Left” theoretical frameworks.

Findings

Failing to properly acknowledge the historical origin of their ideas and/or the critiques of those ideas – and misrepresenting all contrary opinion as “positivist” – those associated with the historic (wrong) turn replicate the errors of their theoretical champions. The author thus witnesses a confusion of ontology (the nature of being) and epistemology (the nature of knowledge) and, consequently, of “facts” (things that exist independently of our fancy), “evidence” (how ascertain knowledge of a fact) and “interpretation” (how I connect evidence to explain an historical outcome).

Originality/value

Directed toward an examination of the conceptual errors that mark the so-called “historic turn” in management studies, this article argues that the holding contradictory positions is not an accidental by-product of the “historic turn”. Rather, it is a defining characteristic of the genre.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Gabrielle Durepos and Albert J. Mills

This paper develops and provides insights on how researchers can use ANTi-History with a focus on one of its constitutive facets, relationalism. The purpose of this paper…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper develops and provides insights on how researchers can use ANTi-History with a focus on one of its constitutive facets, relationalism. The purpose of this paper is to, first, develop a central facet of ANTi-History called relationalism and to outline how researchers interested in doing organizational history can use ANTi-History insights to undertake relational histories.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors propose four phases of the historic turn literature and situate ANTi-History and relationalism as an outcome of the fourth phase. The facet of relationalism is then explained and explored through five types of relations that the authors suggest act as sites of oscillation, where the past becomes (an immutable) history.

Findings

A central implication of the paper involves disrupting conceptualizations of the past and history as fixed. Instead, history is explained as a relational outcome of its constitutive social and political relationships.

Originality/value

The paper theoretically develops ANTi-History and relationalism while providing practical implications and tools for researchers to use it. Researchers are introduced to the notion of the site of oscillation. They are encouraged to focus their attention on five sites of oscillation: past-history, actor-network, human-nonhuman, researcher-traces of the past, and historical inscription-reading formation. These sites of oscillation are places where politics is at play and history is shaped or transformed.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 12 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

Keywords

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