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Crafting management history

Crafting management history Purpose – Management history is written for various reasons, such as describing company developments and the growth of the theories of management, and is part of the generic historical approach. There are, however, some specific problems associated with the writing of management history and this paper aims to address both general historiography and the particular application of management history. Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts the metaphor of crafting, as in the potter at his wheel, to emphasise the need for empathy with material from the past and the skill required for converting that raw data into and analytical and meaningful account. Various factors to be considered in this process are discussed. Findings – The paper finds that, the metaphor can be sustained and is a valuable concept for those embarking on management historiography. Practical implications – The need for sympathy with the period in question and for the material to hand is suggested as a necessary outlook for the management historian. Their task is not scientific, in that laws are unlikely to emerge in this complex and multi‐faceted field, but painstaking crafting is an art that will lead to the writing of better management histories. Originality/value – The paper collects general advice from eminent historians and suggests a particular approach for the management historian. The aim is to encourage the writing of management histories that can contribute to our knowledge of the past but also can form the basis for further hypotheses and insights in the field of management. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Management History Emerald Publishing

Crafting management history

Journal of Management History , Volume 14 (2): 10 – Apr 11, 2008

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Emerald Group Publishing Limited. All rights reserved.
ISSN
1751-1348
DOI
10.1108/17511340810860285
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Purpose – Management history is written for various reasons, such as describing company developments and the growth of the theories of management, and is part of the generic historical approach. There are, however, some specific problems associated with the writing of management history and this paper aims to address both general historiography and the particular application of management history. Design/methodology/approach – The paper adopts the metaphor of crafting, as in the potter at his wheel, to emphasise the need for empathy with material from the past and the skill required for converting that raw data into and analytical and meaningful account. Various factors to be considered in this process are discussed. Findings – The paper finds that, the metaphor can be sustained and is a valuable concept for those embarking on management historiography. Practical implications – The need for sympathy with the period in question and for the material to hand is suggested as a necessary outlook for the management historian. Their task is not scientific, in that laws are unlikely to emerge in this complex and multi‐faceted field, but painstaking crafting is an art that will lead to the writing of better management histories. Originality/value – The paper collects general advice from eminent historians and suggests a particular approach for the management historian. The aim is to encourage the writing of management histories that can contribute to our knowledge of the past but also can form the basis for further hypotheses and insights in the field of management.

Journal

Journal of Management HistoryEmerald Publishing

Published: Apr 11, 2008

Keywords: History; Management history; Business history

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