Call for Papers
Our relationship with the past is undergoing a process of change. The development of technologies such as social media and genetic testing has created new possibilities to record and reconstruct the past with important social impacts. At the center of these transformations, we identify a number of organizations such as Facebook and Ancestry whose work has been transforming the way individuals and societies memorialize and engage with the past. Besides technological advances, changes in social consciousness have also been driving the rethinking and reconceptualization of the past. Social and organizational memory is increasingly seen as a contested terrain in which multiple actors interact to defend specific perspectives about the past. The rise of social movements dedicated to promoting decolonization, historical justice, and equality share this understanding that the past is not free of value and interests. These efforts usually coalesce into specific organizations such as 'me too.' and Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. As these examples suggest, organizations play an important role in processes of remembering, forgetting, and reinterpreting the past. This sub-theme explores the intersections between social and organizational memory. We use social memory to refer to the collective remembering and forgetting processes taking place in the social context in which the organization is embedded, such as nation-states or industries. We reserve organizational memory to the practices of remembering, forgetting, and representing the past shaped by managerial and professional actions and intentions within the boundaries of an organization (Foroughi et al., 2020). Studies on social memory have blossomed in fields like history, sociology, and anthropology in the past thirty years, giving rise to a new discipline of memory studies (Roediger & Wertsch, 2008). However, social memory studies typically pay little attention to organizations when explaining social mnemonics (Rowlinson et al., 2010). In management and organization studies, management scholars have long been interested in organizational memory (Levitt & March, 1988; Walsh & Ungson, 1991). But organization theorists tend to be dismissive of the importance of the environment in theorizing organizational memory, treating it instead as an organization-centric concept (Coraiola et al., 2018). The goal of this sub-theme is to bring social and organizational memory studies closer together. We focus on the impact of organizations, managers, and professionals on the dynamics of remembering and forgetting in their wider environment and its consequences for the ways in which the present and future are enacted within organizations. Remembering is always an imperfect (re)construction of the past. Yet, the way people and organizations approach the past has major implications for the way they organize in the present for the future. This sub-theme calls attention to the presence and continuity of ideas and systems of thought (imperfectly) inherited from the past. The revived interest in the study of organizational memory has fuelled the development of a variety of promising theoretical approaches and research agendas on the practices of remembering and forgetting (Coraiola & Murcia, 2020; Foroughi et al., 2020) as well as on the uses of the past in organizations (Maclean et al., 2018; Suddaby et al., 2010; Wadhwani et al., 2018). In particular, studies have examined how managers engage with the past to promote change, redefine identities and generate competitive advantage (Anteby & Molnár, 2012; Foroughi & Al-Amoudi, 2019; Maclean et al., 2014; Oertel & Thommes, 2015; Ravasi et al., 2019; Schultz & Hernes, 2013). In tandem with these developments there has been a move to look beyond the internal mnemonics of the organization to focus on broader mnemonic processes, the role of power and politics in remembering and forgetting, and the interaction between social and organizational memory (Bastien et al., 2021; Coraiola & Derry, 2019; Mena et al., 2016; Ocasio et al., 2016). Our attempt in this sub-theme is to start closing the gap between social memory studies and organizational memory studies. We thus invite scholars with a variety of theoretical, methodological and empirical perspectives to join us in exploring the above themes. Below is a list of possible, but not exhaustive, topics and questions:
Diego M. Coraiola is an Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Canada. His primary research interest is on collective and entrepreneurial action. His current research focuses on social and organizational change, organizational mnemonics, and Indigenous organizing. Diego's work has been published in journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Organization Studies, Strategic Organization, and Journal of Business Ethics.
François Bastien is an Assistant Professor at the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria, Canada. As a Huron-Wendat from the Indigenous community of Wendake, he has observed incongruities between Indigenous ways of organizing and contemporary colonial models. François aims to translate Indigenous knowledge and challenge colonial assumptions.
Mairi Maclean is a Professor of International Business in the School of Management, University of Bath, United Kingdom. Her research focuses on historical organization studies and the memorialization of the past and on elite actors in organizations. Mairi's work has been published in a variety of journals including Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, Human Relations, Organizational Research Methods, Strategic Organization, and Academy of Management Learning & Education.