Redpath Museum

11 08 2014

My research collaborator Kirsten Greer is currently at McGill University doing some research for our project on the history of sugar refining. She tweeted this picture of the Redpath Museum, which is named after Peter Redpath, an important sugar entrepreneur.


Redpath Museum



The Atlantic Schools of Business conference is fast approaching!

11 08 2014
As so many of us get extremely busy during the summer months, we would like to share some great news. If you had thought about submitting a manuscript to ASB this year but were under a time-crunch, it should feel good to know that we are extending the deadline of the Call for Papers until Friday, August 22, 2014!
Simply use this link to visit the ASB 2014 conference website, find your track area and follow the link to Easy Chair to submit your paper.
***Important note for all authors! Please submit your papers in a Word-compatible format so that the Area Chairs can remove your author information BEFORE they send out your paper for review. (Not PDF as per the CFP)
This webpage is your central hub for all ASB2014 information and exciting conference news, including:
  • The conference theme around “Communities, Context, and Communication”
  • Information about our amazing hotel rates at the beautiful Atlantic Hotel
  • Our 2nd Annual ‘Fun Run’ that will take in views of the Halifax Harbour
  • Links to our online registration portal (be sure to register soon to get the Early Bird rate!)
  • Information on our academic keynote speaker, Dr. Roy Jacques
PLUS: The opportunity to have your manuscript published in one of the multiple special journal issues that are working with our 2014 conference!
Additionally, there are two student-centred events being held on Saturday, September 27th:
  • The KPMG Student Case Competition – Organized by Karen Lightstone (
  • The Student Research Workshop & Fun Competition aimed at both undergraduate students planning to pursue graduate education and early-career graduate students – Organized by Scott MacMillan (
We have a fantastic conference shaping up and want you, your students and your school to be a part of it all in Halifax! Please reach out to any of the track chairs if you are intent on submitting, have an interest in participating, or have any questions.
Don’t miss spending September 26-28, 2014 on the campus of Mount Saint Vincent University!

Business History at the British Academy of Management Conference

8 08 2014

Here are the papers that will be presented to Management and Business History track at the British Academy of Management meeting in Belfast in September. 

Track Chair: Kevin Tennent

WED 09:00 – 10:30 | Room T7, St. George’s Market

Full Papers

Session Chair: Kevin Tennent

The Medellin Tram System, 1919-1950 (9) Correa, Juan Santiago

Management Theories and its Application in Organisations: The Nigerian Experience (871) Olarewaju, Adeniyi Damilola

The evolution and scaling-up of solar PV in Ghana, 1980-2010 (39) Amankwah-Amoah, Joseph

WED 11:00 – 12:30 | Ewart Suite, Hilton Belfast

Developmental Papers

Session Chair: Julie Bower and John Wilson

Gendered Organizing: An ethnohistory of women at work (135) Sebastian, Smitha; Hirst, Alison; Down, Simon

Retail marketing events as tourist attractions – Case Study Hanningtons Department Store,  Brighton 1927-1936 (151) Bishop, Susan Jane

Entrepreneurship and business charisma (496) Mees, Bernard

Between Organization Theory and Historical Methodology: a Possible Exit from the Theoretical Impasse for Business Historians (189) Smith, Andrew

WED 16:00 – 17:00 | Room T7, St. George’s Market

Full Papers

Session Chair: Bill CookeComing to terms with the past? Narrative, metaphor and the subjective understanding of  transition (5) Maclean, Mairi; Harvey, Charles

Strategies of dominance and tactics of resistance: twice narrating the history of music retail (505) Tennent, Kevin D.; Mollan, Simon

THURS 09:00 – 10:30 | Ewart Suite, Hilton Belfast

Full Papers

Session Chair: Joseph Amankwah-Amoah

The Structure of Networks: The transformation of UK business 1904 – 2010 (20) Wilson, John F; Schnyder, Gerhard

Western Debates about Entrepreneurship in China, 1842-1914 and the Origins of the “European  School” of Entrepreneurship Studies (76) Smith, Andrew

Speculation and Accumulation: Entrepreneurs and their Strategies from the Medieval to the  Modern Period (142) Casson, Catherine

THURS 14:00 – 15:30 | Ewart Suite, Hilton Belfast

Full Papers

Session Chair: Kevin Tennent

At the nexus of politics, praetorianism and enterprise: The Fauji Business Group, Pakistan (381) Ali Jhatial, Ashiq; James Wallace, James; Cornelius, Nelarine

Employment Tribunals- A historical perspective (593) Lord, Jonathan David; Redfern, Dave

What was the Whitbread Umbrella protecting? From brewing to coffee via pub retailing (168) Bower, Julie

Business History at the Academy of Management Conference 2014

8 08 2014

AS:  The recent Academy of Management conference attracted 10,000 scholars from around the world. There were a number of panels that are of interest to business historians.


Program Session #: 142 | Submission: 13414 | Sponsor(s): (OMT, MH, ENT)
Scheduled: Friday, Aug 1 2014 3:15PM – 4:45PM at Pennsylvania Convention Center in Room 120 C

Historical Approaches to Management and Organization Studies: Sources and Methods
History & Organization Studies


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Speaker: JoAnne Yates; MIT Sloan;
Coordinator: R. Daniel Wadhwani; U. of the Pacific;
Speaker: Steven Kahl; Dartmouth College;
Speaker: David A. Kirsch; U. of Maryland;
Speaker: Michael Rowlinson; Queen Mary U. of London;
Facilitator: Marcelo Bucheli; U. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign;
In recent years, management researchers have begun to use historical sources and methods in their study of management, organizations, and markets. Building on earlier pleas for an engagement with historical reasoning about organizations (Zald, 1993; Kieser, 1994; Clark and Rowlinson, 2004), these more recent developments have included efforts to develop historical approaches to organizational and institutional theory (Suddaby and Greenwood, 2009; Marquis, 2003), strategy (Kahl et al, 2012; Ingram et al, 2012), innovation and entrepreneurship (Tripsas, 1997; Forbes and Kirsch, 2010; Wadhwani and Jones, 2014), and critical management studies (Rowlinson and Proctor, 1999), among other subfields. The turn towards history, however, has also raised a number of complex questions for researchers about the nature of historical knowledge, how it might be employed to address organizational questions, and how to analyze historical sources and data (Bucheli and Wadhwani, 2014; Rowlinson, Hassard, and Decker, forthcoming). This PDW will introduce participants interested in historical sources and research methods to the core theoretical and methodological issues involved in historical research, and discuss the variety of ways in which history is being used in organization and management studies today. Led by an interdisciplinary group of historians and management scholars, the PDW will provide participants with both a broad orientation to the theoretical and practical issues involved in historical research, and an opportunity to apply it to their own research using smaller breakout groups based on the specific ways they are seeking to engage history.


Program Session #: 225 | Submission: 10041 | Sponsor(s): (MH)
Scheduled: Saturday, Aug 2 2014 8:00AM – 9:30AM at Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Parlor 2

New Tools for Old Data: Data Visualization
New Tools


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Organizer: James M Wilson; U. of Glasgow;
Data visualization uses a variety of graphic tools to enhance the exploration, development, understanding and presentation of historical data and information. These tools are effective alternatives and supplements to purely textual or statistical approaches and the workshop focuses on introducing them to researchers in business history topics. Applications from the presenter’s own research will form the foundation for the presentation along with suitable other historic examples; and where appropriate modern analyses may be shown to have parallel applications to historic cases. The session will take two popular expressions as starting points: “A picture is worth a thousand words” and “Seeing is believing” revealing that a graphic representation can incorporate a great deal of information in a compact, readily comprehensible format. This is true not just for presenting information but even more so in exploring research questions where identifying relationships and behaviour over time, or along other dimensions may be problematical to perceive in numerical data, but graphs and other visual representations may more readily clarify relationships and help in hypothesizing relationships and interactions, and revealing their nature. The objective is to familiarize attendees with visualization techniques and the spreadsheet tools commonly available for implementing them; and so their research may benefit from these improved skills, and their seminar and teaching presentations may be more effective. Data visualization tools offer a great variety of powerful analytical and presentation techniques, and this workshop will describe and show their application in researching historic management topics, with clear parallels and applications to current topics.

Search Terms: Management History , Data Collection , Data Analys


Paper Session
Program Session #: 855 | Submission: 18539 | Sponsor(s): (MH)
Scheduled: Monday, Aug 4 2014 8:00AM – 9:30AM at Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Regency Ballroom C2

Economics Lessons from History
Economics Lessons


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Chair: John Norman Davis; Hardin Simmons U.;
An exploration of lessons learned from historical economic events.

Search Terms: Economics , History , Lessons
MH: “Results of the Decade” and Bond Rating Stability During the U.S. Great Depression Practice-oriented Research-oriented
Author: John Donnellan; New Jersey City U.;
Author: Berry Wilson; Pace U.;
This study analyses Moody’s railroad bond ratings over the period: 1925-1933 to examine the stability of Moody’s ratings during this critical period in U.S. economic history. One core principal applied by Moody was “results of the decade,” under which Moody derived quantitative measures from a 10-year moving average of the underlying credit data. Although related to “rating through the cycle,” “results of the decade” was a more explicit way of capturing secular trends in bond quality. Moody decomposed the ratings construction process into two components. The first constructed a statistical rating from two risk factors. These were: (1) security, a measure of a bond’s solvency, and (2) salability, a measure of a bond’s liquidity. Moody then combined these two factors with his personal judgment to construct the final rating. Our study analyzes the stability of both the statistical rating and Moody’s judgment. Our results contradict the “results of the decade” principal, and show that Moody made substantial changes in the rating process during the Great Depression.

Search Terms: security , salability , rating through the cycle
Paper (and optional supplemental information) is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left.

MH: The New Deal for Management & Organization Studies:Lessons, Insights and Reflections Theme-oriented: The Power of Words Research-oriented
Author: Albert J. Mills; Saint Mary’s U.;
Author: Terrance G. Weatherbee; Acadia U.;
Author: Jason Foster; Athabasca U.;
Author: Jean Helms Mills; Saint Mary’s U.;
In this paper, drawing on ANTi-History (Durepos and Mills 2012), we set out to recover the New Deal and some of its leading figures for the field of management and organizational studies. In so doing we do not simply seek to add New Deal studies to existing histories of MOS but rather our aim is to show how MOS histories have served to narrowly define the field and constrain what is considered a valid area of study. Through exploration of the neglected phenomenon of the New Deal, we conclude that MOS needs be more imaginative in its choice of stories and exemplars when dealing with the broad range of economic, behavioral, social and political factors that confront humankind’s ability to organize and manage its affairs.

Search Terms: New Deal , ANTi-History , Management History
Paper (and optional supplemental information) is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left.

MH: The 2008 Financial Crisis: A historical rethinking of a predictable evolutionary disaster Practice-oriented Theme-oriented: The Power of Words Research-oriented
Author: Michael G. Jacobides; London Business School;
This paper revisits the 2008 financial crisis, considering how we can draw on the historical record not only to revisit our understanding of what really drove the problems, but also to help inform theory. It looks at some relatively neglected factors which can be fruitfully documented through historical methods: the nature of the selection environment, the agency of actors, and the influence of structure (industry architectures and business models), which are discussed in detail, theoretically and empirically. On the basis of that evidence, as well as the promise that feedback, rather than foresight, drives behavior, we come to a fresh set of conclusions on what drove the crisis, and to an exciting opportunity for historical methods to inform theory. This potentially challenges some of the current policy views in terms of the current focus on “Too Big To Fail” and the direction of regulatory energy; it also helps us revisit the lessons that we should take from this crisis, taking us away from macro-economic factors on the one hand and on individual malfeasance on the other, highlighting structure instead. In all, the analysis suggests that a theoretically based, historical institutional and evolutionary analysis can add a fresh perspective.

Search Terms: financial crisis , evolutionary theory , business history
Paper (and optional supplemental information) is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left.


Paper Session
Program Session #: 1706 | Submission: 18538 | Sponsor(s): (MH)
Scheduled: Tuesday, Aug 5 2014 11:30AM – 1:00PM at Loews Philadelphia Hotel in Congress Room B

Learning from a Re-examination of the Past
Re-examining the Past


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Chair: Matthew Sargent; California Institute of Technology;
Authors look back at historical contexts to learn new lessons for the field of management.

Search Terms: Historical Research , Context , Lessons
Selected as a Best Paper MH: Integrating Libertarian Paternalism into Paternalistic Leadership: H.J. Heinz as Choice Architect Research-oriented
Author: John Humphreys; Texas A&M U.-Commerce;
Author: Brandon Randolph-Seng; Texas A&M U.-Commerce;
Author: Stephanie Pane Haden; Texas A&M U.-Commerce;
Author: Milorad M. Novicevic; U. of Mississippi;
Extant theory suggests that paternalistic leadership is not a unified construct and that benevolent paternalistic and exploitative paternalistic leader styles are independent. However, this representation ignores the emerging concept of libertarian paternalism. In order to explore this prospective style of leader paternalism, we performed a historiographically-informed examination of prominent paternal capitalists from the era of industrial paternalism in the United States. We discovered that the paternalistic leadership of H.J. Heinz lacked the degree of coercion and intrusion found in other paternalistic leaders of the period, even when compared to those motivated by benevolence. As this resonated well with current notions of libertarian paternalism, we analyzed the paternalistic leadership style of Heinz alongside contemporaneous archetypical exploitative (George Pullman) and benevolent (Henry Ford) paternalistic leaders. We interpret the historical evidence to integrate emergent ideas of libertarian paternalism into a more comprehensive typology of paternalistic leadership.

Search Terms: paternalistic leadership , libertarian paternalism , H.J. Heinz
Paper (and optional supplemental information) is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left.

MH: Contributions of Lillian M. Gilbreth to Management Theory through the Context of Critical Biography Practice-oriented Research-oriented
Author: Jane Whitney Gibson; Nova Southeastern U.;
Author: Russell W. Clayton; Saint Leo U.;
Author: Jackie W. Deem; Kaplan U.;
Author: Jacqueline Einstein; Nova Southeastern U.;
Author: Erin Henry; Harvard U.;
In this paper, the lens of critical biography is used to examine the life and contributions of Lillian M. Gilbreth, widely known for instilling the human factor into scientific management theory. This paper looks at Lillian Gilbreth’s background, the important work and family roles she held, the turning points in her life, and the societal context in which her contributions to management thought were made. Against this backdrop, Gilbreth’s key contributions to management theory are discussed including those relating to the human element of scientific management, the application of scientific management to homemaking and the conceptualization of women as intelligent consumers and workers. The authors comment on how Gilbreth’s life experiences interfaced with her key contributions in these areas.

Search Terms: Lillian Gilbreth , Management History , Critical Biography
Paper (and optional supplemental information) is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left.

MH: Management as fantasy. The managerial work of Catherine Cappe and Faith Gray, 1782-1820.
Author: Linda Perriton; U. of York;
Sage Publishers Award for Best Management History Division Paper in Leadership

In the years between 1782 and 1820, Catharine Cappe and Faith Gray, with the help of an extended kinship and social network of middle-class women, managed two progressive philanthropic organizations in York, England. The work of Cappe and Gray and their wider network of managing women is used as the subject of an analysis of management as fantasy, adapting Joan Scott’s (2001) ideas about the significance of psychoanalytic concepts within gender history. The paper explores how the historiography of management and organizational history could respond to this analytical frame.

Search Terms: Gender , Philanthropy , Desire
Paper is NOT Available: Please contact the author(s).

Optional Supplemental Information is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left.

MH: Genesis of Management Thought: Comparison between Early American & British-Indian Railroads
Author: K.V. Mukundhan; Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode;
The contribution of early American railroads to the development of management thought is a topic that has been heavily researched and written about. The need for managerial governance in the American railroads sparked off a revolution in thought creation that cascaded to the other industries of the American economy. The conditions that existed in America in the years that followed the industrial revolution were conducive to the creation, documentation and dissemination of management thought. There is prima facie evidence to believe that the economic context of India under British imperialism provided a fertile ground for management thought creation and development. Though the colonial Indian railroads were established by the British as early as 1853, their contribution to the development of management thought is either conspicuous by its absence or has lacked academic interest to bring it to the fore. In this paper, I have attempted to explore this historical anomaly by comparing the economic, social and political climate that existed in America with that of India during the period of this study (1850-1925). By comparing the contexts on three parameters that are necessary for the development and proliferation of management thought, I have tried to account for the void in the contributions of British Indian railroads in this paper.

Search Terms: Railroad , History , Management
Paper (and optional supplemental information) is Available to Registrants Only: Please login at the left

A Bad News Day

8 08 2014

I gotta stop reading news items during my lunch. In addition to the depressing news that at least five different religious groups are being slaughtered by their fellow theists in the Middle East (see video), there is the knowledge that the military-industrial complex of a liberal democracy is about to transfer a new warship over to Russia. The Russian crew are parading through the streets of the French port city where the ships has been built. They will sail the vessel back to Russia later this month.  Note how the Russian crews are not allowed to communicate with the local population when they go ashore to stretch their legs.


The shipyard that is building this weapon for Putin is owned by a company in which a third of the shares belong to the French government. This fact illustrates the dangers is state ownership. The French government agreed to the imposition of sanctions on Russia that cost privately-owned firms some sales, but when it has a bit more skin in the game, it’s business as usual. Nice one.

Ok. Here is some info about one of the religious groups in the Middle East that is currently slated for extermination by Islamists.  The sin of this group, which follows a religion that is a variant of Zoroastrianism, is that they worship some sort of peacock angle rather than Allah. At the same time, of course, we have seen the following examples of the positive role of religion in the life of the Middle East: Sunnis killing Shias; Shias killing Sunnis; Muslims killed Jews; Jews killing Muslims; Muslims killing Christians. I can see why the reflex of undergraduates is to say “religion is the root of all evil.”





David Olusoga’s Challenge to Business Historians

7 08 2014

I rarely watch TV documentaries about history, as many of them are quite badly researched. I saw a brilliant exception this generalisation last night. 

When he unveiled the BBC’s plans to mark the centenary of the First World War with four years of WWI-themed documentaries and dramas, Director-General Tony Hall promised that the programs would have “a profound impact on the way we think about World War One”. In other words, they wouldn’t just rehash old interpretations of the war but would be based on cutting-edge academic research. The BBC is producing 2,500 hours of programming about the war!

Last night, BBC Two broadcast The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire a moving documentary that showed the ways in which racism influenced the conduct of the war. (Any serious student of this war must recognized that the imperialist and racist assumptions of the era make the moral universe of the various combatant nations utterly different from that of liberal democratic people today, which is why efforts to depict the war as a crusade for liberty are hilarious). Anyway, the documentary shown last night was hosted by the Anglo-Nigerian journalist David Olusoga. It’s about told the four million non-European, non-white soldiers who got caught up in what started as an intra-European struggle.The documentary looked at the experience of Sikh soldiers in the British Army and the Senegalese soldiers who fought for the French.  Olusoga shows how the complex racial ideologies of the era influenced the military strategies and tactics used. (French generals favoured the use of Black troops on the dubious grounds that Africans’ had less developed nervous systems and were thus less able to feel pain). The British rulers of India had their own pseudo-scientific ideas about ethnic groups and castes made for good soldiers (the so-called martial races). The documentary shows Olusoga sitting in libraries such as the British Library and reading racialist texts from that era.

Olusoga is a journalist not an academic. However, his documentary draws on the considerable volume of academic literature the straddles the boundaries between the history of racism and military history. I hope that his excellent documentary is shown in all nations for the former British Empire and that a sub-titled version is shown in Francophonie countries.

As a business historian, I’m left wondering whether we could produce a similar documentary that talks about how the racial ideologies of that era influenced commerce between countries that were considered to be of different “races”. I think that the number of scholarly secondary sources we could draw on would be much smaller, unfortunately. It seems to be that David Olusoga has created a challenge for us business historians. 



Klein on Central Banking: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

6 08 2014

Peter Klein has chapter in a new book edited by David Howden and Joseph Salerno, The Fed at One Hundred: A Critical View on the Federal Reserve System (New York: Springer, 2014). The title is “Information, Incentives, and Organization: The Microeconomics of Central Banking.” You can read a version of the paper here.

Here is the abstract:

Both the Fed’s defenders and critics focus on macroeconomic questions. What is the correct monetary policy? Does the economy need an “activist” Fed? Should the central bank intervene to reduce unemployment, or focus on keeping prices stable? Should the Fed target interest rates or nominal GDP? Has the Fed done a good job? These are critically important questions. Ultimately, however, the Fed’s behavior derives from the way it is organized, managed, and governed. In other words, the macroeconomic problem is built upon a more fundamental, underlying microeconomic problem: How is the Fed’s behavior enabled, shaped, and constrained by its mandate, its legal authority, and its organizational design? For a fuller understanding of the Fed, and central banking more generally, we should turn not only to macroeconomics, but also to microeconomics, specifically at the economic theory of organizations — their nature, emergence, boundaries, internal structure, and governance. This chapter evaluates the Federal Reserve System, and the institution of central banking more generally, from the perspective of organizational economics, and concludes that independent, unaccountable central banks are inefficient, inherently politicized, and incapable of performing the functions assigned to them.


Klein is saying that we need to take a hard look at the incentives of the individuals who run monetary policy. That’s very plausible indeed. In the post-mortem that followed the Financial Crisis, a great of attention was paid to how the employees of banks are compensated (see here). The thinking was that the compensation mix used (a blend of salary plus big bonuses) encouraged bankers to take risks that ultimately took down their employers—and much of the economy. More recently, there have been proposals to legislate deferred payments to traders in financial institutions—part of their bonuses would be put into escrow for a few years and they would only get the money if it turned out that the investments they made on behalf of the bank were good ones. This makes sense. Consider an employee of Lehman Brothers who bet his employer’s money on MBS in say, 2005. The investment performed well in 2006, so he got a big bonus in that year. In 2008, when this investment went sour, neither Lehman Brothers nor its creditors were able to reclaim to bonus.  The prevailing thinking today is that a new compensation system would encourage bank employees to be long-term greedy and avoid the sort of risky, short-term greedy behaviour that contributed to the crisis.  In the UK, Mark Carney Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has called for this system to be part of all new employment contracts in banking.


The thing is, while a great deal has been said about way bankers’ compensation is structured, there is very little popular or scholarly discussion of how central bankers (e.g., Mr Carney) are compensated and how that compensation structure might influence their decisions about monetary policy!

I’ve read Klein’s paper with interest. (I read it because I’m doing some research right now on a British banker who simultaneously managed a large international bank and sat on the board of the Bank of England). Klein makes a very strong a priori case. However, I think that he has run up against a brick wall related to the availability of primary sources. The Fed and other central banks are reluctant to release information about the employment contracts, compensation packages, and so forth of their current and past employees. All they publish are the headline salaries. If we want to examine how the incentive structure for central bankers has evolved over the last 100 years, we would need access to the appropriate archival materials, which would involve looking at both the personal papers of the central bankers, the papers of their family firms, as well as the archives of the central banks.For a start, we would need to compare the terms of the employment contracts given to successive central bankers.  Speaking as a business historian, I think it may be difficult to get access to all of these materials.

Here is a question that can start this research: when were the salaries of central bankers first indexed to inflation? When were automatic COLA adjustments inserted into their employment contracts? It seems to me that a central banker would have less of an incentive to fight inflation if they knew that their real income was going to be unaffected by rising price levels. Which country was the first to inflation-index the pay of the people who set monetary policy? How did its subsequent inflation rate compare to those of the countries that didn’t index their pay?


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