Academy of Management Review Special Issue on History

24 10 2016

All business historians in management schools will likely be interested in the new issue of the Academy of Management Review, which contains articles that engage with historical themes.

Conceptualizing Historical Organization Studies
Mairi Maclean, Charles Harvey, and Stewart R. Clegg

The promise of a closer union between organizational and historical research has long been recognized. However, its potential remains unfulfilled: the authenticity of theory development expected by organization studies and the authenticity of historical veracity required by historical research place exceptional conceptual and empirical demands on researchers. We elaborate the idea of historical organization studies—organizational research that draws extensively on historical data, methods, and knowledge to promote historically informed theoretical narratives attentive to both disciplines. Building on prior research, we propose a typology of four differing conceptions of history in organizational research: history as evaluating, explicating, conceptualizing, and narrating. We identify five principles of historical organization studies—dual integrity, pluralistic understanding, representational truth, context sensitivity, and theoretical fluency—and illustrate our typology holistically from the perspective of institutional entrepreneurship. We explore practical avenues for a creative synthesis, drawing examples from social movement research and microhistory. Historically informed theoretical narratives whose validity derives from both historical veracity and conceptual rigor afford dual integrity that enhances scholarly legitimacy, enriching understanding of historical, contemporary, and future-directed social realities.

Taking Historical Embeddedness Seriously: Three Historical Approaches to
Advance Strategy Process and Practice Research
Eero Vaara and Juha-Antti Lamberg

Despite the proliferation of strategy process and practice research, we lack understanding of the historical embeddedness of strategic processes and practices. In this article we present three historical approaches with the potential to remedy this deficiency. First, realist history can contribute to a better understanding of the historical embeddedness of strategic processes, and comparative historical analysis in particular can explicate the historical conditions, mechanisms, and causality in strategic processes. Second, interpretive history can add to our knowledge of the historical embeddedness of strategic practices, and microhistory can specifically help us understand the construction and enactment of these practices in historical contexts. Third, poststructuralist history can elucidate the historical embeddedness of strategic discourses, and genealogy in particular can increase our understanding of the evolution and transformation of strategic discourses and their power effects. Thus, this article demonstrates how, in their specific ways, historical approaches and methods can add to our understanding of different forms and variations of strategic processes and practices, the historical construction of organizational strategies, and historically constituted strategic agency.

A Rolling Stone Gathers Momentum: Generational Units, Collective Memory,
and Entrepreneurship
Stephen Lippmann and Howard E. Aldrich

We draw on the historiographical concepts of “generational units” and “collective memories” as a framework for understanding the emergence of entrepreneurially oriented cohesive groups within regions. Generational units are localized subgroups within generations that have a self-referential, reflexive quality by virtue of the members’ sense of their own connections to each other and the events that define them. Collective memories are shared accounts of the past shaped by historical events that mold individuals’ perceptions. The two concepts provide a valuable point of departure for incorporating historical concepts into the study of entrepreneurial dynamics and offer a framework for understanding how entrepreneurs’ historically situated experiences affect them. Our framework breaks new theoretical ground in several ways. First, we synthesize disparate bodies of literature on generational units, collective memory, and organizational imprinting. Second, we specify mechanisms through which imprinting occurs and persists over time. We develop analytical arguments framed by sociological and historiographical theories, focusing on the conditions under which meaningful generational units of entrepreneurs may emerge and benefit from leadership and legacy building, technologies of memory, and institutional support that increases the likelihood of their persistence.



History, Society, and Institutions: The Role of Collective Memory in the
Emergence and Evolution of Societal Logics
William Ocasio, Michael Mauskapf, and Christopher W. J. Steele

We examine the role of history in organization studies by theorizing how collective memory shapes societal institutions and the logics that govern them. We propose that, rather than transhistorical ideal types, societal logics are historically constituted cultural structures generated through the collective memory of historical events. We then develop a theoretical model to explain how the representation, storage, and retrieval of collective memory lead to the emergence of societal logics. In turn, societal logics shape memory making and the reproduction and reconstruction of history itself. To illustrate our theory, we discuss the rise of the corporate logic in the United States. We identify two sources of discontinuity that can disrupt this memory-making process and create notable disjunctures in the evolution of societal logics. We conclude by discussing how changes in collective memory and the historical trajectory of societal logics shape organizational forms and practices.

Historic Corporate Social Responsibility
Judith Schrempf-Stirling, Guido Palazzo, and Robert A. Phillips

Corporations are increasingly held responsible for activities up and down their value chains but outside their traditional corporate boundaries. Recently, a similar wave of criticism has arisen about corporate activities of the past, overseen by prior generations of managers. Yet there is little or no scholarly theorizing about the ways contemporary managers engage with these critiques or how this corporate engagement with the past affects the legitimacy of current business. Extending theorizing about political corporate social responsibility and organizational legitimacy, we address this omission by asking the following: (1) What is the theoretical basis for holding a corporation responsible for decisions made by prior generations of managers? (2) What is the process by which such claims are raised and contested? (3) What are the relevant features that render a charge of historical harm-doing more or less legitimate in the current context? (4) How will a corporation’s response to such charges affect the intensity of the future narrative contests and the corporation’s own legitimacy?

On the Forgetting of Corporate Irresponsibility
Sébastien Mena, Jukka Rintamäki, Peter Fleming, and André Spicer

Why are some serious cases of corporate irresponsibility collectively forgotten? Drawing on social memory studies, we examine how this collective forgetting process can occur. We propose that a major instance of corporate irresponsibility leads to the emergence of a stakeholder mnemonic community that shares a common recollection of the past incident. This community generates and then draws on mnemonic traces to sustain a collective memory of the past event over time. In addition to the natural entropic tendency to forget, collective memory is also undermined by instrumental “forgetting work,” which we conceptualize in this article. Forgetting work involves manipulating short-term conditions of the event, silencing vocal “rememberers,” and undermining collective mnemonic traces that sustain a version of the past. This process can result in a reconfigured collective memory and collective forgetting of corporate irresponsibility events. Collective forgetting can have positive and negative consequences for the firm, stakeholders, and society.



Dani Rodrik on CETA and Wallonie

23 10 2016

I’m planning a long blog post about CETA– the post should go live at the end of the month (i.e., after the scheduled signing ceremony event in Brussels). In the meantime, I thought I would share Dani Rodrik’s excellent blog post about the subject.

The key passage is

The opposition to trade deals is no longer solely about income losses. The standard remedy of compensation won’t be enough — even if carried out. It’s about fairness, loss of control, and elites’ loss of credibility. It hurts the cause of trade to pretend otherwise.

Some Facts About Student Migration

21 10 2016


After what appears to have been a fight within the Cabinet over whether to cut the number of student visas it issues, the government has signalled that it wishes to dramatically reduce the number of foreign students admitted each year.

2015 Net Migration Figures

Non-Citizens of the UK British Citizens
Immigration 633,000 82,000
Emigration 306,000 126,000
Net Migration 327,000 -43,000



In the wake of the referendum vote to Leave the UK, which the government has chosen to interpret as a mandate to dramatically reduce the annual intake of migrants, ministers are looking at cutting the headline “net migration” figure by an order of magnitude, which would mean taking it down to about 30,000 per annum. The intention is to take far fewer immigrants each year and to change the mix of immigrants coming in so that they are almost exclusively highly skilled workers (e.g., brain surgeons, bankers, and computer programmers).

For the higher education sector, which is heavily reliant on the tuition fees paid by foreign students, whether students are included in the annual “immigration” figures, a seemingly arcane question of statistical methodology, is vitally important, for if they are included, the government will be virtually obliged to drastically reduce the number of student visas issued each year. That’s because the current number of students admitted each year would, just by itself, cause the government to miss its targets unless it stopped all inward movement of other types of migrants (skilled workers, refugees, expat executives, etc) AND re-introduced state-subsidized programs to incentivize working-class British people  to move to Commonwealth countries.


According to data from the Passenger Survey collected at UK ports of entry, about 60% of the non-EU migrants arriving in the UK are students. Now according to Migration Watch, an organisation that wants to slash the number of migrants, a large proportion of these students are bogus – people who are nominally registered at universities but are really here with the intention of working or staying in the UK after their studies are completed. Other robustly dispute this claim.

If the UK government does go ahead with the plan to slash the number of students coming into the UK, it will have a massive impact on university finances. Of course, not all universities and departments will be equally affected, as some institutions and programs are far more reliant on foreign students than others. This change in the higher education sector would also have serious implications for a range of economic interests, including landlords and Chinese supermarkets located near campuses. Many people, not just university lecturers planning their career moves, will need to review their strategies. I would imagine that Oxford University, the alma mater of most of the key policymakers, will be spared massive reductions in the number of student visas it issues for largely sentimental reasons.

In the interests of allowing lecturers and other people to adjust their career strategies in light of the likely impact of the cuts in numbers, I’m sharing some statistics that were produced by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. These stats reveal

That in 2014-15, there were 436,585 students from outside the UK coming to study in the UK.

The number of Chinese students far exceeds any other nationality at 89,540.

Indian students are the next largest cohort with 18,320 although this represents a continuing drop from the previous year and the year before.

University College London (now including the Institute of Education) hosted the largest number of international (EU and non-EU) students in the UK with a total of 20,745.

Business and administrative studies have the largest proportion of international students (38.4% of students in this subject are international) with Engineering and technology second (33.1%) and Law third (26.3%).


Foreign Students (EU and non-EU) represent a significant proportion of the degrees granted in a typical year.


Higher Education qualifications obtained in 2014-15

Full time study Higher Degrees (research and taught) Other postgraduate First degree Other undergraduate
UK domicile 45,525 28,205 293,535 42,285
EU students (not incl UK) 20,090 1,270 9,420 1,635
non-EU 85,750 4,870 45,390 5,350
Part time study
UK domicile 31,285 33,135 34,385 36,315
EU students (not incl UK) 2,595 880 630 730
non-EU 5,895 2,010 2,205 1,505

Source: HESA ‘Students in Higher Education 2014-15’ [^]Table 17


Top 20 largest recruiters of international students 2014-15

Institution postgraduate students undergraduate students  Total number of international students
University College London 7,200 6,345 13,545
The University of Manchester 5,650 6,565 12,215
The University of Edinburgh 4,530 5,550 10,080
Coventry University 3,715 5,385 9,100
The University of Sheffield 4,485 3,965 8,450
Kings College, London 4,205 4,140 8,345
The University of Birmingham 5,780 2,520 8,300
University of the Arts, London 2,015 6,130 8,145
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine 4,235 3,730 7,965
The University of Warwick 3,695 3,730 7,425
The University of Oxford 5,190 2,155 7,345
The University of Glasgow 3,675 3,665 7,340
The University of Nottingham 3,075 4,170 7,245
The City University 4,205 3,000 7,205
London School of Economics and Political Science 4,995 2,055 7,050
Cardiff University 3,455 3,535 6,990
The University of Southampton 3,995 2,900 6,895
The University of Liverpool 2,040 4,825 6,865
University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne 3,315 3,295 6,865
The University of Cambridge 3,960 2,400 6,360

Source: HESA First Statistical Release 224 (2014-15) [^]Table 3.
Note that totals include EU and non-EU students, full-time and part-time study.

The stats in the previous table just tell us the number of foreign students attending each university in absolute terms and they don’t tell us the extent to which the university is dependent on foreign students for revenue. One can, however, gauge the internationality of a university’s undergraduate student body from looking at these data from The Complete University Guide. These data suggest that the elite Russell Group universities are actually more dependent on fees from foreign students than the lower-ranked universities. At LSE,  44.3% of students are ‘International’ (i.e., from outside the EU– this number doesn’t include the large number of continental European students there).










AoM Symposium on Business History and Deglobalization

20 10 2016

The next Academy of Management conference will take place Atlanta, Georgia, 4-8 August 2017. The Academy hosts symposia that can lead to publication in the Academy of Management Perspectives (AMP) publishes symposia that address important issues concerning management and business. Symposia consists of 4 to 6 papers discussing a well-defined topic. See guidelines here.

According to the Academy, unlike special issues, contributions to symposia are vetted by the symposium organizer, and curated so they complement each other. Examples of topics include, but are not limited to, advances in the neuroscience of decision making, business strategies from data science, the impact of contingent labor force on organizational sustainability, the limits of private/public partnerships on organizational growth, and so on.

The Academy are now calling for new proposals for symposia. I am writing this blog post to gauge the level of interest in a symposium on managerial responses to deglobalization. Since the world economy has experienced cycles of globalization and deglobalization, this symposium would be a great opportunity for business historians to showcase the relevance of their research to a wider range of scholars, including International Management scholars.

The working title of the symposium would be  “Managing in Ages of Deglobalization.” There is a vast literature on how firms have managed the many challenges related to globalization, here defined as falling barriers to the movement of goods and capital across borders. Business historians, along with scholars in such disciplines as economics, economic history, international management, operations management, organization studies, and strategy have contributed to our understanding of how firms have responded to the challenges and opportunities associated with globalization in the last few decades. We also are learning more about how firms took advantage of earlier globalization phases in world history, such as the golden age of globalization that is conventionally regarded to have ended abruptly in  1914 with the outbreak of the First World War.

Unfortunately, we know far less about firms have managed deglobalization — i.e., periods in which globalization goes into reverse and the barriers to international trade reappear, disrupting international value chains. Some research, some of which is in a forthcoming volume on international business strategy and the First World War, has been done but much more knowledge is required. Kindleberger’s seminal research suggests that globalization appears to have been a cyclical process, with periods of global economic integration being punctuated by breakdown in the international economic order and the reversion back in the direction of autarky. If this theory is true, business historians have a great deal to offer to our understanding of how the private-sector can manage deglobalization. Knowing more about managerial responses to globalization is particularly crucial at this point, as the prospect of Brexit and the rise of anti-trade and anti-globalization movements in countries around the world raises the spectre of deglobalization. Indeed, there is some evidence in the international trade data that deglobalization is already taking place (see here, here, and here). The IMF reports that since the 2008, Global Financial Crisis, world trade is now growing at a slower rate than the global economy as a whole.

Are you working on a paper that deals with managerial responses to deglobalization? Would you be interested in presenting it in this prestigious forum? If so, please contact me via email.

In organizing this symposium, I think that we should define both history and deglobalization broadly. Defining history broadly means that papers on recent periods of history would be very welcome. Defining deglobalization broadly involves extending the remit of the paper beyond the study of economic exchange across nation-state borders.  Tyler Cowen has recently pointed out that globalization can take place within countries as the natural and man-made barriers to trade within nations are reduced. In the interests of defining the panel in inclusive terms, I would welcome paper proposals that deal with managerial responses to the breakdown of long-distance supply chains within large nation states, particularly federal ones.


History and Strategy Research: Opening Up the Black Box

20 10 2016
AS: I’m sharing this CFP, which has created a massive buzz in the business history community in the last week, here.  I would imagine that many people will  submit papers to this SI, since the SMJ is a highly ranked journal and many business historians are now doing research on the “Uses of the Past.”
Strategic Management Journal
Call for Papers for a Special Issue
History and Strategy Research: Opening Up the Black Box
Submission Deadline: September 30, 2017
Guest Editors
Nicholas S. Argyres, Washington University in St. Louis
Alfredo De Massis, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and Lancaster University
Nicolai J. Foss, Bocconi University
Federico Frattini, Politecnico di Milano
Geoffrey Jones, Harvard University
Brian S. Silverman, University of Toronto
SMJ Advising Editors
Sendil Ethiraj and Constance Helfat
Business history and strategy research have traditionally had a close relationship. Thus, Chandler’s seminal research is often seen as key input into the development of strategy as anacademic research field. Historical research methods and historical data are used to study a diverse set of strategic issues including industry evolution, technology strategy, dynamiccapabilities and diffusion of innovation. More recently, interest has been growing with respect to exploring the nexus between history and strategy.
Historical analysis may be broadly defined as “empirical research that uses remote sensing and a contextualist approach to explanation.” Such analysis can be highly useful in strategyresearch that seeks to analyze path dependence or understand the origins/evolution of contemporary phenomena, identify sources of exogenous variation, develop and test historicallyinformed theory, and add more detail to existing theories. Historical analysis allows strategy scholars to historically embed the study of how organizations learn, innovate and makestrategic decisions over time. Equally important, such analysis enables scholars to understand how actors strategically develop interpretations of historical facts that shape theirpresent behavior and set expectations for the future, and use artifacts from the past to create the basis for strategies in the present.
Aims and Scope
This Special Issue will push forward research at the intersection between history and strategy, to further integrate these two disciplines. We welcome empirical papers that applyestablished and innovative research methodologies to strategy questions by using historical data and records. In particular, we encourage research that uses novel datasets that supporttracing over time how organizations, groups and individuals—by acting in a particular historically embedded context, and by mutually interacting—built, implemented and modifiedstrategies. We also call for theoretical modeling that builds on history and provides new insights into the historical implications of strategy.
Below we suggest two research themes that illustrate the intersection of strategy and historical analysis. However, many other such themes can be envisaged and would be welcomeas submissions to the Special Issue.
1.    How do firms, groups and individuals use the past to give meaning to the present, inform their expectations about the future, and make strategic decisions? Within thisresearch theme we encourage scholars to develop a more fine-grained understanding of the way in which the past influences how organizational goals are set, how futuretechnology and market trends are forecast, and how new business opportunities are identified, evaluated and exploited. Path dependence suggests that the decisions anorganization makes are influenced and limited by the decisions it has made in the past. However, we need more precise explanations of how specific and non-recurrent facts (oractions taken) in the past have led to particular strategic behaviors and to the development of organizational capabilities. Such explanations of how the past somehow acquirescognitive salience and normative force can only be developed in close interplay with actual historical inquiry.
2.    How do firms, groups and individuals use knowledge and resources stemming from the past to trigger and realize acts of organizational change and innovation? Currentresearch tends to portray the past as a constraining force that reduces flexibility and produces resistance to change, thus leading to organizational inertia, competence lock-ins, andescalating commitments to past actions. However, research suggests that firms can create competitive advantage through acts of innovation and organizational renewal bysearching for, accessing, and using knowledge created at different points in the past, i.e., through “temporal search.” This opens up a set of timely and relevant research questions.What are the firm-, individual- and group-level capabilities required to successfully search, identify and recombine knowledge resources acquired in the past? How do firms learnto make innovations in their products, services, business models, procedures and strategies from the past? How do innovation processes and practices evolve over time, and howare they shaped by the interactions between firms and the past?
Submission Process
Submitted papers must be in accordance with the requirements of the Strategic Management Journal. Original manuscripts are due by the Submission Deadline of September 30,2017, and must be submitted using the SMJ Submission system at Authors should indicate that they would like the submission to beconsidered for the special issue “History and Strategy Research: Opening Up the Black Box”. Authors of papers invited to be revised and resubmitted will be expected to workwithin a tight timeframe for revisions.
Further Information
Questions pertaining to this special issue may be directed to:
·         Nicholas S. Argyres (
·         Alfredo De Massis (
·         Nicolai J. Foss (
·         Federico Frattini (
·         Geoffrey Jones (
·         Brian S. Silverman (

Come be my colleague! Assistant/Associate Professor Jobs in International Management/Business at University of Liverpool

14 10 2016



£38,896 – £62,323 pa

AACSB accredited and with its full-time MBA ranked in the Economist top 100, the University of Liverpool Management School sits in the top 5% of business schools globally with 150 academic staff who enjoy a strongly collegial, research-supportive, and intellectually vibrant interdisciplinary environment. Well-connected with industry and the professions, the School benefits from its location in a city which combines strong cultural activity, excellent transport links, and regional beauty with a world heritage skyline and is highly ranked on quality of life in the UK. The School is well positioned to enhance its national and international standing as it moves into its next phase of development, giving particular emphasis to developing the reach of its world-class research activity. The School is now looking to recruit two individuals to join the Organisation and Management Group in the area of International Management / Business. You should have a good track record of publications in International Business and/or Management in journals recognised as world-leading or internationally excellent. Your future research plans should demonstrate the capacity to sustain and extend this level of output. We also encourage individuals who have recently graduated from their PhD programmes and who have exciting research plans that are geared towards publication in top journals in the field. If applying at the more senior level, in addition to pursuing your own research, you should have the willingness and the capacity to assume research leadership roles including the supervision of PhD students and the development of grant applications. You should have teaching experience and a willingness to take leadership responsibility for delivering modules, in particular on our International Business UG & PG programmes. You will also share in administrative responsibilities that are part of a vibrant, expanding Management School.

For more information see 

What Do We Know About Tim Hortons’ Joint Venture in the UK?

12 10 2016

News that the Canadian coffee and doughnut chain Tim Hortons was expanding into the UK generated considerable attention in the media (see here, here, and here). Little attention was paid to the fact that they company opted for a joint venture entry mode and the financial press paid even less attention to who the firm’s local partners were going to be. Perhaps that’s because the parent company of Tim Horton’s, Restaurant Brands International of Oakville, Ontario said very little about the UK partners in its press release, referring simply “to the establishment of a master franchise joint venture with an investor in Great Britain.” The financial press reported that the CEO of the new master franchise was named Gurprit Dhaliwal but said nothing about this individual, which I found rather curious.  Or rather, I was struck by how incurious the business journalists who reported this story were. Nobody bothered to learn anything about either Mr. Dhaliwal or the investors using publicly available data. To be frank, this oversight doesn’t speak well of the quality of Canadian business journalism.

In a spare moment, I decided to do a bit of digging myself. The first thing to point out is that the RBI’s UK business partner does not appear to have anything to do with Tim Hortons Ltd, a property company in Leeds that coincidentally shares a name with the Canadian coffee chain. Tim Hortons UK & Ireland, which was registered in September 2016, has its registered office in Egham, an affluent community in Surrey, that is near London and Heathrow. There are two current directors, Gurprit Dhaliwal of  Wolverhampton, West Midlands (born 1982)  and Surinder Singh Kandola of Egham (born 1965). TH UK & IRELAND LTD was established in July 2016. I’ve posted the details of the registered officer below:



Anyway, I’m posting this information here in the hopes that it sparks the interest of some journalist in Canada or the UK. It seems to me that the story of this brand’s entry in the UK has a number of interesting angles that would make  for a good piece in a business magazine. The fact that a disproportionate number of the individuals involved are from one faith community is very interesting to me as it speaks to the importance of diaspora networks of entrepreneurs, a pattern that is well documented in the academic literature.  I know a number of academic researchers in the fields of international management who would be very interested in meeting and interviewing some of the people involved although we all  understand that ground rules would need to be established before any research began.