10th Conference of the European Business History Association

10th Conference of the European Business History Association

Centre for Business History, Copenhagen, Centre for Business History, Aarhus, Department for History, International and Social Studies, Aalborg.
Copenhagen Business School
From - Until
17.08.2006 - 20.08.2006
Günther, Falk-Thoralf

The conference will be concerned with the dynamics of capitalism and business enterprises. You are welcome to submit proposals for papers or panels dealing with the three conference themes. Papers dealing with other issues are also welcome.

Conference themes:

92 years have passed since Joseph Schumpeter published his “Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung”, but its focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as well as on creative destruction and crises makes it as topical as ever. With the era of globalization, the dynamics of capitalism have never been more intense and more all-encompassing, and this gives rise to a series of important questions that business history may be particularly suited to answer.

Can globalization go too far? Are business scandals increasing in number and magnitude? What can national governments and international organizations do to create an institutional environment that stabilizes capitalism without at the same time removing the dynamics?

Does globalization promise a new and prosperous life for more and more people – in the developing countries as well as in the West? Or does the prevailing wave of convergence and outsourcing result in ever more socially divided consumer and service-oriented societies to an extent that will ultimately lead to social riots? Is it possible for governments to establish legislative and institutional frameworks that provide adequate answers to the increasingly transnational character of business?

By inviting papers as well as entire sessions that explore historical parallels and analyze the path that business corporations and societies have taken towards the present state of a global economy, we hope to achieve a better and historically founded understanding of the challenges that capitalist societies and business enterprises face in the 21st century.

We invite papers that deal with the firm level, the national level or the international level, or all three. At the same time, we want to recognize the need for business history to open up to new theoretical approaches in other disciplines like economics, sociology, anthropology, the humanities, and business studies in order to constitute a truly cross-disciplinary science.

The conference therefore has three themes:

1. Corporate Governance and Business Performance - Historical Explanations

2. Global Markets and Global Regulation – Institutional Frameworks in History

3. Theoretical Challenges and New Perspectives in Business History

1. Corporate Governance and Business Performance - Historical Explanations:
Recent spectacular business failures like Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Andersen and Parmalat have given rise to a focus on corporate scandals and greed. Concurrently with this development, Corporate Governance has become the focus of Business Studies and Business History. However, neither business scandals nor governance problems are new to capitalist societies. Joseph Schumpeter’s influential concept of Creative Destruction may have more explanatory power now than ever before, but it may not be sufficient to understand the recent large-scale business scandals and accusations of corporate greed. In this theme of the EBHA 2006 conference, we invite sessions as well as papers that explore and analyze business failures, scandals and success and their relation to corporate governance and institutional frameworks in a long-term perspective.

2. Global Markets and Global Regulation -Institutional Frameworks in History:
Throughout its history, capitalism has integrated markets. Today many business corporations compete at an international level, a development that has been driven by companies and institutional change in complex interaction. One of the main problems has been to design institutional frameworks that facilitate the dynamics of capitalism while at the same time providing some stability in economic as well as social terms. In today’s era of globalization, this challenge is as important as ever. In this theme we invite sessions as well as papers that aim to explore the relationship between business, society and the institutional environment.

3. Theoretical Challenges and New Perspectives in Business History:
Business History is a flourishing discipline capable of drawing on theoretical insight from other disciplines within the social and human sciences. Economics, sociology and anthropology have all provided new insights of relevance to business history while the new theoretical approaches that emphasize cultural and social processes in and around companies are only beginning to influence our discipline. Constructivist and semiotic theories challenge traditional approaches in Business History – both when it comes to the analysis of historical problems and the construction of historical narratives. Together these different approaches and disciplines provide new theoretical and methodological insights that may change old conceptions about the role in society of business enterprises and consumers. The number of studies on organizational culture, material culture and consumption, marketing and branding etc. is increasing, and in this theme we invite sessions as well as papers that are devoted to analyzing the relationship between new and not so new theoretical approaches to business. In line with the tradition of our discipline we are especially interested in contributions that bring theory and empirical work to bear on the two first themes of the EBHA 2006 conference. One particularly interesting topic could be the analysis of informal institutions.

Although priority will be given to papers embracing this theme and closely related topics it is normal practice for EBHA conferences to include some papers outside the theme of the conference.

Submission of Abstracts:

Those interested in presenting a paper should prepare a one-page abstract. Proposals for panels should contain the abstracts of the individual papers as well as a short summary explaining the rationale of putting these together in one panel. Suggestions for chairs and discussants of the panel will also be welcomed. Please e-mail your abstracts or panel proposals by January 15, 2006 at the latest to Jørgen Fink hisjf@hum.au.dk. All proposals will be evaluated by an academic committee.

Decisions will be announced by e-mail before February 28th 2006.


Contact (announcement)

Jørgen Fink
Centre for Business History
Blågårdsgade 23 B
DK-2200 Copenhagen N

Phone: +45 3815 3630
Fax: +45 3815 3635
E-Mail: hisjf@hum.au.dk.

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