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

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issue

View graph of relations Save citation



Research units


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.


  • Silence of the Archives-MOH2013

    Rights statement: 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:

    Accepted author manuscript, 224 KB, PDF-document

    License: CC BY-NC-SA Show license


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-173
Number of pages19
JournalManagement and Organizational History
Early online date27 Feb 2013
StatePublished - 2013


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


Download statistics

No data available

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research

Copy the text from this field...