The Future of the Past in Management and Organizational Studies

Posted: 30 May 2013

See all articles by R. Daniel Wadhwani

R. Daniel Wadhwani

University of the Pacific

Marcelo Bucheli

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

Date Written: May 29, 2013


This paper examines the opportunities and challenges presented by the incorporation of history into research on organizations. We argue that the value of history lies in its ability to provide unique perspectives on management, organizations, and markets, rather than in providing a longitudinal version of social scientific explanations. Researchers interested in the use of history will need to recognize its distinct epistemic assumptions and its employment of a retrospective point of view to understand organizational behavior and cognition, as well as understand the particular methodological approaches the historical perspective entails. The paper introduces these issues and examines them against the backdrop of a growing interest in the use of historical evidence and reasoning to study organizations. The paper also introduces the essays contained in the collected volume "Organizations in Time: History, Theory, Methods" and frames them in relationship to the broad topic of historical methods in organizational research.

Keywords: organization studies, business history, historical methods, epistemology

JEL Classification: N01, B00, B15, N80, P10, P12, P16

Suggested Citation

Wadhwani, R. Daniel and Bucheli, Marcelo, The Future of the Past in Management and Organizational Studies (May 29, 2013). Available at SSRN: or

R. Daniel Wadhwani

University of the Pacific ( email )

3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA 95211
United States

Marcelo Bucheli (Contact Author)

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
(217) 244-0208 (Phone)


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