Abstract: History, a Useful "Science" for Management? From Polemics to Controversies

Eric Godelier


In 1988, a French management journal, La Revue française de gestion, published a special issue on "the roots of enterprise." Authors assessed the research of business historians and management science academics who were working on corporate history or were at least using history as a tool for understanding corporate life and for helping managers in their day-to-day practice. The conclusion was optimistic. Since then, more managers and academics have used history as a framework for corporate comprehension and more historians have focused their work on enterprises and organizations. Nevertheless, even though academic recognition of "management historians" has improved, the dialogue between the two fields relies primarily on personal initiative, rather than on a conscious and systematic interdisciplinary academic strategy. Only a few academic associations, such as the French Accountancy Association, have developed an interest in business or corporate history. Why and how can we improve the dialogue between the two groups concerning scientific controversies?

BEH On-Line Paper