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The historic turn in management and organizational studies: a companion reading

Authored by: Terrance G. Weatherbee , Patricia Genoe McLaren , Albert J. Mills

The Routledge Companion to Management and Organizational History

Print publication date:  May  2015
Online publication date:  May  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415823715
eBook ISBN: 9780203550274
Adobe ISBN: 9781135918453


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Whether the beginning of the ‘historic turn’ in management and organizational studies (MOS) is marked at 1994 (Kieser, 1994), 2004 (Clark & Rowlinson, 2004), or earlier (Zald, 1993) is more a matter of choice in the tropics of narrative emplotment (White, 1985, 1987) than any signal of the primacy of a particular event. However, the benefit of two decades of hindsight does permit us to say – and without worry of compromise – that in the intervening period we have seen a veritable explosion of interest in history-work undertaken in MOS. Engagements with history in MOS have since spread from few to many, from the margins to the mainstream and back again, and are now established throughout a wide range of conference activities and journals, and in a growing number of texts. All of this work stems from, and is constitutive of, a deep richness to be found in the debates surrounding the various approaches used to interrogate where and how history is to be used (or not) for the study of organizations (Rowlinson, Stager Jacques & Booth, 2009; Weatherbee et al., 2012). From our own position within the turn we now assess this sub-field as having matured sufficiently to warrant a survey of its state. Our survey is designed to provide management scholars and students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the leading-edge and emergent thinking of scholars working within the turn as they engage in discussion and debate which collectively focuses on the problems, challenges, and potentials associated with doing history-work in MOS.

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