In their great article on organizational memory and invented traditions in Dutch multinationals, Ronald Kroeze and Sjoerd Keulen discuss the interviews they had with Dutch CEOs. They report that all of the executives they spoke to “acknowledge the usefulness of history when managing organisations.” In other words, thinking historically made them better businesspeople.
Moreover, all of their interviewees were pleased that academic historians were willing to listen and give them the opportunity to tell their side of the story. Kroeze and Keulen suggests that this “proves the demand for a historical approach towards business leadership and organisations.”
This is very encouraging news. It fits with my understanding of how many CEOs in other countries operate. Moreover, it speaks to some of the issues discussed in Behlül Üsdiken and Matthias Kipping. “History and organization studies: A long-term view.” Organizations in time. History, theory, methods (2014): 33-55.
Ronald Kroeze and Sjoerd Keulen, “Leading a multinational is history in practice: The use of invented traditions and narratives at AkzoNobel, Shell, Philips and ABN AMRO,” Business History 55, no. 8 (2013): 1265-1287.