Mothership reconnection: microhistory and institutional work compared
In one of the foundational articles in MOH, Clark and Rowlinson ( 2004 : 331) argue that an ‘historic turn’ in organization studies would imply a greater engagement with historical values of context and process, rather than with the adjacent branch of history. This argument has been reiterated by scholars such as Andrew Popp ( 2009 ). By turning towards history as a discipline, historical researchers are seeking a re-connection to the disciplinary ‘mothership’ as the basis for their work in management studies. Recently, Popp has called for an ‘historic turn’ in BH specifically, which he argues needs to combine the writing of excellent history with greater refl exivity about historical research practices. 1 I would argue that a ‘historiographic turn’ is required, by which I mean a consideration of historiography as a repository of historical theory. This is in distinction to Taylor, Bell, and Cooke’s reference to the philosophy of history, or Toms and Wilson’s suggestion that historians ought to engage with social science theory. Theoretical concerns are
embedded in the practice, explanations, and narrativization of historical research, and diff erent historical traditions have diff ered in how far they make these explicit. Thus when it comes to making a theoretical contribution, historical researchers are faced with a very unequal marketplace for concepts and theories, where little is derived from historiography other than empirics, context, and in the best case some epistemological concerns.