chapter  15
16 Pages

Varieties of history in organization studies

WithDiego M. Coraiola, William M. Foster, and Roy Suddaby

A large part of the argument for historicizing management and organizational studies is based on the recognition of the ahistorical character of most research done in management and organizations (Zald, 1990 ; Kieser, 1994 ). This can be more clearly seen through the existing divide between the fi elds of organization studies and business history. This argument usually relies on an assumption about the incommensurability of history and science, which can be traced back to a widely shared practical realist view on the nature of history. We avoid this common argument and advocate for a temporary suspension of the discussion of the incommensurability of science and history to focus on the assumptions about history that guide both ‘historical research’ (e.g. business history) and ‘scientifi c research’ (e.g. organizational theory). As Lorenz ( 2011 ) argues, any attempt to defi ne history will raise ontological, epistemological, methodological, and ethical controversies. With this in mind, we embark on an open discussion about the contributions to be gained from an enriched view of history for management and organization studies.