The silence of the archives: business history, Postcolonialism and archival ethnography

Stephanie Decker

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
JournalManagement and Organizational History
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

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:


  • historical methodology
  • post-colonialism
  • archival ethnography
  • corporate archives
  • Africa
  • business history

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The silence of the archives: business history, Postcolonialism and archival ethnography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Research Output

    Open Access
  • Postcolonialism and business history: Edward Said and Frederick Cooper

    Decker, S., 2011, In : Association of Business Historians Newsletter. 40, Spring, p. 3-8 4 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access

    Press / Media

    Linking History and Management Discourse: Epistemology and Method

    Stephanie Decker


    1 item of Media coverage

    Press/Media: Research

    Cite this