How Business-Historical Research Can be Useful in Thinking About the Future of the AoM in the Age of Trump

7 02 2017
I’m a member of the Academy of Management,   a US-based organization that has been convulsed in the last week by an emotional debate about how the organization ought to respond to President Trump’s travel ban and the turn of events in the US (namely that an administration that is highly antagonistic to Muslim, Mexico, China, the European Union, etc). Since about half of the dues-paying members of the AoM work at non-US universities and some academics are talking about boycotting conferences in Trump’s United States, this issue is clearly important.
AoM members have been engaged in a lengthy debate about these matters on social media and on the AoM list-servs. Some members believe that the AoM’s upcoming conference, which is currently scheduled to take place in Atlanta, should be moved to Canada. Others think that the headquarters should be moved to Canada as well.
Here is my contribution to this list-serv debate. As you can see, I show how the research of my fellow business historians is useful in evaluating the view that the AoM’s interests would be best served by shifting its headquarters and events from the United States to a more neutral or at least welcoming country.  This email was written in response to a message from Prof. Andrew Maxwell, who works at a university in the Toronto area. (The AoM’s President is also based in Toronto).
Dear Professor Maxwell:

You make some interesting points about Toronto and Canada.

I see from social media that some people think that the AoM should relocate either its conference and/or its headquarters to Canada to hide the fact it is American.  Speaking as a historian of international business, I don’t know if that strategy would work. During and between the two world wars, some German firms incorporated in Switzerland and other neutral countries in an attempt to present themselves as non-German firms. This strategy worked for some but not all of these organizations.  In some cases, Western government officials saw through the ruse of incorporating in Zurich or Macau, as did some customers in those nations. (Consumers in that era were typically low information people).   I suspect that the many Middle Eastern and Chinese academics who currently pay to attend the AoM won’t be fooled if the mailing address is suddenly changed from Briarcliff Manor to Toronto.  They will realise that the AoM remains an essentially US organization, even if they membership fees are now billed in Canadian dollars and the website has a Canadian IP address. Whether that knowledge would change their willingness to pay to attend the AoM is something I don’t know. I suppose it depends on the extent to which they feel that the attitudes of the current US administration towards Muslims, Mexicans, China, etc reflect those of the US population.

The following pieces of business-historical scholarship may or may not provide useful lessons for the AoM leadership at this time.

Casson, M., & da Silva Lopes, T. (2013). Foreign direct investment in high-risk environments: an historical perspective. Business History, 55(3), 375-404.

Jones, G., & Lubinski, C. (2012). Managing Political Risk in Global Business: Beiersdorf 1914–1990. Enterprise and Society, 13(01), 85-119.

Smith, A. (2016). A LBV perspective on political risk management in a multinational bank during the First World War. Multinational Business Review, 24(1), 25-46.


Andrew Smith


Events About History and/or Memory at the Academy of Management Conference

22 07 2015

PDWs on History and/or Memory at the Academy of Management Conference in Vancouver

As readers of this blog know, recent years have seen a “historic turn” that has witnessed the integration of historical themes into management research and teaching. Additional evidence of the historic turn can be seen in the programme of the upcoming Academy of Management Conference in Vancouver.

This year there are a number of PDWs at the AoM directly related to history and/or memory. Several of them offer opportunities to discuss abstracts of work in progress. So if you are going to the AoM, consider attending these PDWs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dan Wadhwani (dwadhwani at

  1. The Uses of the Past: History and Memory in Organizations. Saturday, August 8th. 11:15-1:15p. Presenters include Majken Schultz, Bill Foster, Tor Hernes, Natalya Vinokurova, Gabie Durepos, Mads Mordhorst, and Alan Meyer. UBC Robson Square, Room C180. Contact Dan Wadhwani if you’d like to have your “research in progress” discussed as part of the workshop.
  1. When History Meets Theory: Historically Oriented Research in Strategy and Organization Theory. Friday, August, 7th. 2p-4:30pm. Presenters include Mary Tripsas, Dan Wadhwani, Giovanni Gavetti, Andy Hargadon, Marcelo Bucheli, and Zur Shapira. Vancouver Convention Centre, Room 8. Contact Dan Wadhwani if you’d like to have your “research in progress” discussed as part of the workshop.
  1. History Matters! Path Dependence, Imprinting, Process. Friday, August 7th, 2:45-5:15pm. Vancouver Convention Center, Room 220. Presenters include Matthias Kipping, Chris Marquis, Georg Schreyogg, and Behlul Usdiken. Contact Matthias Kipping or Behlul Üsdiken if you’re interested in finding out more.
  1. Connections between Organizational Identity and Memory. Presenters include Bill Foster, Michael Heller, Mick Rowlinson, and Roy Suddaby. Friday, August 7th, 1pm-4pm. Fairmount Hotel, Vancouver.
  1. Entrepreneurship and/in Context. Vancouver Convention Centre. Saturday, August 8, 9:45am-12:15am. Rooms 217-219.

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


View Map

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


View Map

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


View Map

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


View Map

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