Why has Organization Theory forgotten the Quakers?

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Title: Why has Organization Theory forgotten the Quakers?
Authors: Kavanagh, Donncha
Brigham, Martin
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/9331
Date: 9-Jul-2016
Abstract: This paper argues that there is much to be learned about the power of ideas and habitus through looking back at how the Quakers—who have been largely forgotten and overlooked in management studies’ founding narratives—were organized and how they ran their businesses. The paper presents a brief history of the Quakers focusing on the beliefs and practices that contributed to their success from 1650 to c. 1880, and which also contributed to their demise from the latter part of the nineteenth century onwards and early decades of the twentieth century. We identify changes in nineteenth century corporate law, changing density of family networks and business clusters, the rise of new managerial elites particularly in the US, an increasing dualism between personal and company values, and the structure and practices of liberal Quaker worship and action in the world, as explaining the demise of Quaker businesses in the early twentieth century. We also reflect on the various lessons that can be learned through studying the Quakers and their approach to management for the future of management and organization studies. We conclude that this would be a prescient time to recover a focus on authenticity and play, to embrace and act morally and experimentally.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Keywords: Quakers;Organization theory
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Conference Details: 32nd European Group for Organization Studies (EGOS) Conference, Naples, Italy, 7-9 December 2016
Appears in Collections:Business Research Collection

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