chapter  2
10 Pages

Business history: Agendas, historiography and debates

BySteven Toms, John Wilson

Business history has more recently become more embedded in business schools and the wider social sciences, thereby expanding its research agenda to incorporate questions of interest to a wide range of academics, policy makers and practitioners. More recently, it has accommodated, rstly, the ‘historical turn in organizational studies’ (Clark and Rowlinson, 2004), potentially opening up the discipline to a new range of philosophical and methodological approaches, and secondly, ‘new business history’ which utilises a range of methodologies with the objective of obtaining generalisable results (de Jong et al., 2015). These alternative perspectives provide the opportunity for the debates (for example, Taylor et al., 2010; Toms and Wilson, 2010) that indicate the health and continuing development of any sui generis discipline. They have also made available a variety of methodologies that can be applied to the understanding of history. Alternatively, the historical method can be used to inform the investigation of present-day research agendas, involving the approaches less familiar perhaps to mainstream scholars of business and social scientists.