Where are the Historical Theories Of Organizations



History as a discipline is as diverse in its theoretical orientation as management and organization studies, but it lacks a typology of research domains that supports the interdisciplinary development of historical theories of organizations. The role of theory in history differs markedly, as historians generally favor procedural theory over propositional theory. Procedural theory generalizes at the level of the research process, and embeds theoretical assumptions within the narrative as explanatory conditions of unique events, whereas propositional theory makes generalizations about its research subjects in the form of stable, universally applicable propositions. Historical theory can be categorized by its epistemology (objectivist or constructivist) and its orientation to theory (universalizing, generalizing, particularizing), which renders the diversity of theoretical positions within historiography intelligible for historical research in organization studies. This facilitates greater interdisciplinary collaboration between organization and historical scholars, and offers different formulas though which historical theories of organizations can be developed and extended.

The Business History Seminar is organised by the Business History Centre and has been made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) and the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication