Developing and harnessing historical sensibility to overcome the influence of dominant logics: a pedagogical model

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Business history provides multiple examples of similar managerial crises occurring over an extended period. Despite the growing need for improved management decision-making, managers continue to demonstrate a lack of reflexivity and revert to formulaic practices that have contributed to previous events. In response, we employ the institutional logics perspective to explain causes of managers’ nonreflexive decision-making, and as a basis for a new historical focus within business schools. Specifically, we extend the model of collective memory-making to develop a pedagogical model that outlines how management educators can develop students’ historical sensibility—that is, their sensitivity to and appreciation of possible pasts and the impact of managerial actions on history—to overcome the constraining influence of dominant logics on managers’ decision-making. To this end, we advocate that management educators develop students’ abilities to procure and evaluate historical documents with reference to context; critically analyze retrieved documents and synthesize narratives; and communicate those narratives. The harnessing of historical sensibility is assisted by articulation of specific action foci. By focusing on both the development and harnessing of historical sensibility, we go beyond the presumption that more history will (and should) ensure better management practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-620
Number of pages26
JournalAcademy of Management Learning and Education
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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