History as a discipline has been accused of being a-theoretical. Business historians working at business schools, however, need to better explicate their historical methodology, not theory, in order to communicate the value of archival research to social scientists, and to train future doctoral students outside history departments. This paper seeks to outline an important aspect of historical methodology, which is data collection from archives. In this area, postcolonialism and archival ethnography have made significant methodological contributions not just for non-Western history, as it has emphasized the importance of considering how archives were created, and how one can legitimately use them despite their limitations. I argue that these approaches offer new insights into the particularities of researching business archives.
This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in Decker, S 2013, 'The silence of the archives: business history, Postcolonialism and archival ethnography' Management and organizational history, vol. 8, no. 2. Management and organizational history 2013 © Taylor & Francis, available online at: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/17449359.2012.761491
- historical methodology
- archival ethnography
- corporate archives
- business history