chapter  9
15 Pages

History in management textbooks: adding, transforming, or more?

WithTerrance G. Weatherbee

In this chapter I foreground how the absence of a robust engagement with history in the literature on management education has contributed in part to the abstraction of the knowledge that we teach to our students in business schools. The manner in which we present management knowledge once history and historical context is written-out of the content means that our textbooks are more likely to serve as an intellectual entry point and values-based framework for managerialism than for management. In response to this condition I suggest that the solution is neither simply adding history back in, as some have recommended (Wren, 2005 ), nor just the re-historicizing of knowledge as others have encouraged (Cummings & Bridgman, 2011 ; Stager Jacques, 2006 ). Instead, I argue that we must also give scholars and students the conceptual tools to allow them to develop an historical consciousness. Awareness of how ‘management’ knowledge comes to be created and presented in historical terms will enable us to critically assess the knowledge and theory we deliver and which students are exposed to; whether it is located in the texts used in our classrooms or the popular business press.