chapter  12
12 Pages

From What Happened to What Happens: Using Microhistorical Case Studies to Build Grounded Theory in Organization Studies

ByAndrew Hargadon

The role of history in both research and teaching organization studies has reemerged in the past several decades.1 Its dominant use today lies in methodologies that pursue the discovery of general patterns or universal laws that can be empirically validated through the acquisition and testing of data (Zald, 1991) and employ historical data primarily to test hypotheses over extended time periods (see, for example, population ecology and institutional theory, e.g., Hannan & Freeman, 1977; DiMaggio & Powell, 1983). By looking at processes that unfolded over time, this work is historical, yet at the same time, it is ahistorical in that it employs historical data to test general patterns or universal laws of individual and organizational behavior independent of the cultural context of its time and place.