History in organization and management theory: more than meets the eye
Kipping, Matthias and Üsdiken, Behlül (2014) History in organization and management theory: more than meets the eye. Academy of Management Annals, 8 (1). pp. 535-588. ISSN 1941-6520 (Print) 1941-6067 (Online)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19416520.2014.911579
There has been a growing debate about the role of history in management research with several authors making suggestions on how to bring the two (back) together and others even highlighting the need for a “historic turn”. What we argue in this paper is that, while history was indeed sidelined by the scientization of management since the late 1950s, it started to make a comeback from the 1980s onwards and is increasingly employed in a number of research programs. We stress that the crucial question for management scholars engaging with history (or wanting to do so) is how it relates to theory. First of all, we present a systematic overview of the way history has been used—both at the micro (organizational) and macro-levels of analysis—distinguishing between what we refer to as “history to theory” and “history in theory”. In the former, we consider those research programs, such as (neo-)institutionalism, where history serves as evidence to develop, modify or test theories. In the case of “history in theory” we identify research programs where history or the past are part of the theoretical model itself as a driver or moderator, with “imprinting” as a prime example. Second, we also identify a growing number of studies that go further by displaying what we call “historical cognizance” in the sense of incorporating period effects or historical contingencies into their theorizing efforts. Finally, drawing on our broad overview, we make more specific suggestions for increasing the visibility and influence of history in organization and management theory.
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