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How the Future Shaped the Past: The Case of the Cashless Society


  • Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo
  • Haigh, Thomas
  • stearns, David L.


This paper invites readers to look into how beliefs about future events help to better understand organizational change. Our argument is that the adoption of information technology and the adoption of new organizational forms around it have been driven by shifts in collective ideas of legitimate organizational development. As an example we focus on the establishment during the 1960s of a vision within US retail financial services, namely of the “cashless/checkless society”. The article tells of the power of this “imaginaire” to bring consensus in driving actual technological developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Haigh, Thomas & stearns, David L., 2011. "How the Future Shaped the Past: The Case of the Cashless Society," MPRA Paper 34846, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:34846

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Walter A. Friedman, 2009. "The Harvard Economic Service and the Problems of Forecasting," History of Political Economy, Duke University Press, vol. 41(1), pages 57-88, Spring.
    2. Bátiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Wardley, Peter, 2007. "Banking on change: information systems and technologies in UK high street banking, 1919–1969," Financial History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 177-205, October.
    3. Batiz-Lazo, Bernardo & Karlsson, Tobias & Thodenius, Björn, 2009. "Building Bankomat: The development of on-line, real-time systems in British and Swedish savings banks, c.1965-1985," MPRA Paper 27084, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Galambos, Louis, 1970. "The Emerging Organizational Synthesis In Modern American History," Business History Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 44(3), pages 279-290, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bernardo Batiz-Lazo & Gustavo A. Del Angel, 2016. "The Dawn of the Plastic Jungle: The Introduction of the Credit Card in Europe and North America, 1950-1975," Economics Working Papers 16107, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    2. Bernardo Batiz-Lazo & Alarcon-Molina, Jose & Espinosa-Cristia, Juan Felipe, 2019. "Trust and Agency Redistribution in CajaVecina's Payment Ecosystem," Working Papers 19015, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    3. Konstantinos Nikolopoulos & Konstantia Litsiou, 2019. "Consumer payment choice during the crisis in Europe: a heterogeneous behaviour?," Working Papers 19007, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    4. Batiz-lazo, Bernardo & del Angel, Gustavo, 2016. "El nacimiento de la tarjeta de credito bancaria an Mexico y Espana, 1966-1975
      [The emergence of the bank credit card in Mexico and Spain, 1966-1975]
      ," MPRA Paper 78004, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 05 Aug 2016.
    5. Gustavo A. Del Angel, 2016. "Cashless Payments and the Persistence of Cash: Open Questions About Mexico," Economics Working Papers 16108, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    6. repec:eee:joreco:v:39:y:2017:i:c:p:243-249 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    imaginaires; expectations; isomorphism; cashless society; payment systems; USA;

    JEL classification:

    • N82 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • E42 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Monetary Sytsems; Standards; Regimes; Government and the Monetary System
    • N22 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-

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