The aim of this study is to outline principles for the writing of management history. First, it is argued that if management history is to advance, pessimism of both…
The aim of this study is to outline principles for the writing of management history. First, it is argued that if management history is to advance, pessimism of both purpose and intellect must be dispelled. Authors must bring with them a sense of how their research leads to better organisations, institutions, workplaces, economies and social relationships. Second, it holds that the utilisation of the scientific method, based around the testing of research theses, drawn from our existing knowledge and contributing to that knowledge, is management history’s methodological bedrock.
Much opposition to scientific methods in historical research, most notably from postmodernists and poststructuralists, is based on false premises. Drawing on Poincare’s La Science et L’Hypothese (1902), this paper notes that there are no fundamental differences between research in the natural and historical sciences. All studies are conditional.
This editorial recommends five steps in writing management history. First, know how your sources were put together, by whom, for what purposes, what they sought to record and what they did not. Second, use multiple sources. Third, keep your research questions in mind, modifying them as evidence demands. As E.H. Carr observed, research theses are “the indispensable tools of thought”. Fourth, understand the social, intellectual and economic contexts of the study. Context is the key to understanding change. The more severe the restraint on change, the more significant is any change that breaks these bonds. Finally, use numbers as numbers count in history. While statistics must be subordinate to the theses, they allow more complex stories, be they of a society or micro-events within a firm.
The growth of postmodernist and poststructuralist research paradigms has created uncertainty with regards to both methods and purpose among management and business historians. This editorial includes a defence of the values of empirically based scientific research.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Perceived compatibility between requirements of managerial work and attributes of women is believed important to the advancement and success of women, and research…
Perceived compatibility between requirements of managerial work and attributes of women is believed important to the advancement and success of women, and research demonstrates continued ambivalence about women executives. The question of how images of women executives are disseminated, reproducing or contesting negative characterizations, has received little attention. The research reported here focuses on US business press as a cultural carrier disseminating images of women executives. Critical discourse analysis examined 27 front page Wall Street Journal accounts of 22 women executives in the year following Carly Fiorina’s appointment to head Hewlett‐Packard; 20 front page accounts of 24 men executives were used as comparison. Prominently featured articles on women executives provide fractured images of women as executives: while some accounts are positive, other portrayals reinforce negative perceptions of women’s competence and likeability as executives and concerns about the social order. Similar issues are not raised in coverage of male executives. Author gender does not seem to affect the portrayal.
These tandem papers – authored by Niels-Hugo Blunch and Craig Gundersen, Thomas Kelly, and Kyle Jemison – add to a long line of work that identifies the features of childhood and family that influence youngsters’ propensity to enter and stay in school. What's intriguing from the start of both reports is the variability in conditions in which children are growing up, evident in both Ghana and Zimbabwe. In these societies, between one-sixth and one-fifth of children, roughly between the ages of 6 and 16 years, are not attending school.
Unlike artists using sartorial flair and flamboyant identities to shock and engage audiences, Bruce Springsteen is relatable, stable, consistent and authentic. Based on…
Unlike artists using sartorial flair and flamboyant identities to shock and engage audiences, Bruce Springsteen is relatable, stable, consistent and authentic. Based on qualitative interviews of Springsteen fans of various levels, it is suggested that brands can sustain success through such tactics as existential authenticity, transparency and charity. His fans co-opt his music and co-create their own stories, which are enabled through Springsteen's use of universal themes and vivid details. In terms of a branding paradigm, he adapts to the post-postmodern era, where brands allow individuals to define their own meaning.
The authors used a qualitative method in generating themes and relationships on the enduring success of Bruce Springsteen's brand. They interviewed 19 informants of various levels of fan support and various backgrounds and areas. They used grounded theory methodology, including open coding, triangulation and member checks, to develop themes and findings.
In general, it was found that narrative structure and cause-and-effect stories are at the heart of his enduring success. While his individual songs, stage performances and charitable works cover a variety of topics and interests, combined they map to the same universal story structure, thus giving his fans solid understanding of his brand. His underdog appeal and story of redemption are maintained through such tactics as vivid songwriting, activism and charitable acts despite his international success and fame.
Theoretically, the authors add to the literature on celebrity branding, narratology and authenticity. Specifically, the authors build upon the notion of existential authenticity, connecting a brand to its various stakeholders beyond customers in a way that is holistically authentic. We also suggest that to sustain a brand for the long haul, it is necessary to be transparent and available to your community members. The story of your brand needs to resonate and be meaningful to the audience in a way that is believable, and more importantly true to the artist and product.
The authors show how narrative structure and universal story themes create ways in which fans can identify. By not straying too far away from the inherent brand meaning, brands can achieve long-term success. Tactically, all ways to manage the brand must link to the main story, but authenticity and maintaining a macromarketing perspective are the keys to making the story believable and enduring. In Springsteen's case, according to our interviews, his music and the message of his well-scripted songs have always mapped well with his real-life persona, making a distinction between his staged persona and actual self visibly difficult to distinguish.
Part of Bruce Springsteen's enduring success and strong brand are built on his charitable works and activism. Brands that have this aspect will endure as well if motives are transparent, benign and believable. Springsteen has succeeded in this aspect because his charitable works often go unnoticed or unreported, which his fans respect when they discover these acts.
Theoretically, the authors also add to the question (i.e. WH-question) literature in terms of connectedness and felt meaning. Springsteen's music connects specific discourse to universal stories/themes via his vivid songwriting, live performances, charitable acts and multiple other tactics. The data suggest that Springsteen's experiences are so vivid and thoughtful that little is needed for the audience to obtain aesthetic or felt meaning of his universal story themes. He allows direct access to the stories without internal interpretation, which then allows for instant penetration of felt meaning.