We examine the role of history in organization studies by theorizing how collective memory shapes societal institutions and the logics that govern them. We propose that, rather than transhistorical ideal types, societal logics are historically constituted cultural structures generated through the collective memory of historical events. We then develop a theoretical model to explain how the representation, storage, and retrieval of collective memory lead to the emergence of societal logics. In turn, societal logics shape memory making and the reproduction and reconstruction of history itself. To illustrate our theory, we discuss the rise of the corporate logic in the United States. We identify two sources of discontinuity that can disrupt this memory-making process and create notable disjunctures in the evolution of societal logics. We conclude by discussing how changes in collective memory and the historical trajectory of societal logics shape organizational forms and practices.
Academy of Management Reviewvol.
41, (January 01, 2016):