Our New Paper: Towards polyphonic constitutive historicism: a new research agenda for management historians

16 12 2015

The journal Management & Organizational History has published the paper I wrote with Jason Russell. Our paper, “Towards polyphonic constitutive historicism: a new research agenda for management historians” is in the forthcoming Special Issue: Re-visiting the Historic Turn 10 years later: Current Debates in Management and Organizational History

Ten years after the call for a ‘historic turn,’ this paper builds on recent developments in organizational remembering scholarship to outline a new research agenda for management historians. Traditionally, management historians have focused on understanding what actually took place in the past. The research agenda for management historians proposed in this paper involves a shift in focus to understanding how perceptions of the past influence economic action in the present. This paper outlines a new methodology for management research. The paper argues that management scholars need to draw on the latest research in the field of social memory studies to ensure that our methodologies for investigating organizational remembering are polyphonic. Polyphonic research involves an attempt to capture and analyze diverse voices, rather than just a single voice or just the voices of a few elite individuals within an organization. We critique much of the existing literature on how the past on organizational memory is non-polyphonic in the sense that the historical ideas of only a small number of actors are considered.