Varieties of business history: Subject and methods for the twenty-first century
This paper deals with different approaches to business history. It argues that conflicting choices about methodology and subject can enrich a discipline, but that some of the current disputes among business historians produce unnecessary opportunity costs and block a more integrated understanding of how firms function in their larger social, political and economic contexts. The paper provides examples of how the separation in the field works against writing business history that is at once rigorous and appeals to broad audiences. It also suggests two approaches for bridging methodological differences. The first calls for reviving some basic historiographical notions. The second involves developing a closer relationship with business to gain more access to private, primary source materials. German experiences are drawn on to show how mutually beneficial academic-business cooperation can be.
Volume (Year): 53 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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