Despite interest in management’s evolution, the discipline is devoid of systematic frameworks addressing historiography. Hence, Hirst’s (1965) theory of “forms of knowledge” is applied to demonstrate that management history satisfies his four criteria and qualifies as a valuable research domain. Hirst’s first criterion states that there must be certain central concepts that are distinctive to the subject. Management historians fulfill this criterion by investigating not only specific people, events and trends, but also topics such as motives and linguistics. Second, Hirst suggests that the discipline must offer distinctive ways of relating concepts. Management historians follow a unique investigatory process using three steps: investigation, synthesis, and interpretation. Third, there must be characteristic ways of adducing evidence in support of propositions. Historians define and refine by the available facts. The fourth criterion states that there be utilization of characteristic techniques for conducting investigations. Example methodologies include biographies and oral history. A fifth criterion, examining history’s pragmatic utility, is then advanced.
Journal of Management History (Archive) – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 1, 1998
Keywords: Biography; Business history; History; Management
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