A history of management histories: does the story of our past and the way we tell it matter?
At an Academy of Management symposium in 2005 (Gibson et al. , 2005 ), several participants who have been infl uential in either writing Organizational Behavior textbooks or writing about the history of management complained that what they termed ‘ chapter two ’ – the obligatory history chapter of these texts – was becoming shorter and shorter. Why might this be, since with every year that passes the fi eld’s past becomes more extensive? One answer might be that the management disciplines are a science and a science is judged on its current body of knowledge – its data-based fi ndings and their fi t with theory. The past is of casual interest only, the story of our errors, our progressively declining ignorance. If ‘ chapter two ’ is dying, that simply leaves more space for useful knowledge.