CBS Initiative ‘Re-thinking History': Mick Rowlinson (Queen Mary University of London) History and Organizations studies: Toward a creative synthesis
I will assess the prospects for deepening the dialogue between organization studies and history. Leading organization theorists from the dominant perspectives of new institutionalism and evolutionary theory, along with critical and interpretive studies, have identified exemplars of historical research. These exemplars illustrate the distinction between research that uses history to illustrate or advance theory, and research that draws on theory to contribute to historiography. There is a convergence of organization studies with history in relation to the topics of memory and historical responsibility. There are also methodological convergences, in relation to narrative interpretation and analysis, as well as the common interest in techniques such as topic modeling. History, no less than organization studies, is a diverse field, and the fields of business history and management history differ in their receptiveness to organization theory, and both remain relatively insulated from wider theoretical debates in history. Finally, the history of management theory itself needs be considered in the historical context of the rise of business schools.
Recent Journal articles:
Rowlinson M, Harvey C, Kelly A, Morris H, Todevae E (2014) “Accounting for research quality: Research audits and the journal rankings debate”, Critical Perspectives on Accounting
Rowlinson M, Casey A, Hansen PH, Mills AJ (2014) “Narratives and memory in organizations”, Organization, 21(4): 441-446
Rowlinson, M. Hassard, J. & Decker, S. (2014) Research Strategies for Organizational History: A Dialogue between Organization Theory and Historical Theory. Academy of Management Review 39(3), 250-274.