We live in an age in which academics are increasingly expected by their paymasters to demonstrate research impact (i.e., that their ivory-tower scribblings are having an impact on practical people and society more generally). For some academic communities, such as the monetary economists who speak to central banks or medical researchers who save lives, demonstrating influence is rather straightforward. For others, it is a bit harder to measure impact, although having one’s research summarised in The Economist is pretty convincing evidence that one’s research is regarded as relevant to managers.
That’s why I was delighted to see that current issue of The Economic has a Special Report on “Superstar” Companies that is filled with historical information and historical analogiesm and crucially, explicitly cites the research of members of the business-history research community, including, of course, the late Al Chandler but also Naomi Lamoureaux. The explicit citations of the research of business historians can be found in the article titled What goes around: America’s corporate world alternates between competition and consolidation.
I happened to read this article yesterday, right before I visited a business historian and research collaborator at Copenhagen Business School. I showed her the article and we were both pleased to see the researcher of BHC members being highlighted in this fashion.