SWG 08: Historical Perspectives in Organization Studies



Lars Engwall, Uppsala University, Sweden


Matthias Kipping, Schulich School of Business, Toronto, Canada


Behlül Üsdiken, Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey


This new SWG responds to a growing call for a renewal in the way we study organizations and organizational fields and aims to explore and expand the potential that a historical perspective – understood in the broadest possible sense – might have in this respect. We hope to attract both organizational scholars working on issues related to history and historians attempting to draw broader generalizations from their particular studies of organizations.

The SWG builds on our own earlier efforts, in particular sub-themes at the EGOS Colloquia in Berlin (1995) and Barcelona (2009), as well as concurrent initiatives at the Academy of Management and the European Academy of Management.


As a matter of principle, our SWG aims to

  • be as inclusive as possible, bringing together researchers from a wide range of backgrounds,
  • welcome both empirical and more conceptual approaches, and
  • reserve significant time for discussion and dialogue.


While our sessions at each of the forthcoming EGOS Colloquia will be self-contained, we also hope to make progress on a variety of different issues over the life cycle of this SWG.

Future such themes will include the contribution of historical perspectives to existing management and organizational theories; historical methodologies and their application in the studies of organizations; and the generation of new concepts and theories on the basis of historical studies. We will make every conceivable effort to publish selected papers from our sessions in special issues of relevant journals, including Organization Studies. Sessions organized at past EGOS Colloquia have so far resulted in special issues of Business History, International Studies of Management & Organization, and Management and Organizational History.


Prior to the EGOS Colloquium 2012 in Helsinki, we hold a Paper Development Workshop on History and Organization Studies. Last, but not least, we would be happy to involve others in convening sessions of the SWG at the forthcoming Colloquia and welcome expressions of interest in this respect.

The coordinators

Lars Engwall is Professor of Business Administration at Uppsala University since 1981. His research has been directed towards the development of industries and organizations as well as the creation and diffusion of management knowledge. Among his publications related to the sub-theme can be mentioned "Mercury Meets Minerva" (1992/2009), "Management Consulting" (2002, ed. with Matthias Kipping) and "The Expansion of Management Knowledge" (2002, ed. with Kerstin Sahlin-Andersson).


Matthias Kipping is Professor of Strategic Management and Chair in Business History at the Schulich School of Business, York University in Toronto, Canada. His research has focused on the development and role of the different institutions of management knowledge, namely management consulting and business education. In his own work, he has attempted to link historical research with organizational theory. He is active in a variety of scholarly associations in both business history and organization studies.


Behlül Üsdiken is Professor of Management and Organization at Sabanci University, Istanbul, Turkey. His publications have appeared in journals such as Organization Studies, British Journal of Management, Strategic Management Journal, Management Learning, Business History, Journal of Management Inquiry and the Scandinavian Journal of Management. He has served as the co-editor of Organization Studies between 1996–2001 and is currently the European Editor of the Journal of Management Inquiry.