The special issue is out!

The special issue in Business History on “New Business History” has now been published! The special issue aims to invoke a discussion about research in business history and is available as issue 1 of Volume 57 (2015). All papers are available at

Please feel free to reply to the issue or the papers in the issue via this blog!

EBHA Session Report

The EBHA session was very inspiring. Papers were presented by Steve Toms (University of Leeds), Hugo van Driel (Erasmus Rotterdam) and Lars Heide (Copenhagen Business School). Andrea Colli (Bocconi) discussed the session and started with two observations. The first is that business history has been expanding its scope and broadening the topics studied. The second is the methodological debate, as in our session. Andrea referred the work of N.S.B. Gras, “Are you writing business history”, published in 1944 in the Bulletin of the Business Historical Society (DOI: to stress the origins of case-based research in the field. Then he mentioned the pivotal role of Chandler and concluded that no significant progress has been made in the case study approach after Gras. For future business historians, Andrea sees three opportunities: (1) the comparative approach; (2) approaches using measurement of variables at the micro-level with the construction of data bases with firm details; and (3) multiple case analyses. Despite the opportunities, Andrea also pointed out some weaknesses of the alternative approaches. Then several additional remarks were made and I would like to highlight two. Chris Colvin (Queen’s University Belfast and winner of EBHA dissertation award) noted that many economic historians (Rosenthal, Greif) apply the analytical narrative approach, which has been an innovation is economic history and may also be applied by business historians.  Keetie Sluyterman (Utrecht University) mentioned that the idea of a continuous loop of empirical work and theory-refinement requires that researchers continue to work on a specific topic and perform several studies in one area of business history. Thank you! Abe

EBHA Session

In about 30 minutes a session at the annual EBHA meetings ( will start with a set of papers and hopefully a critical audience plus lots of discussions. In case you attend the session, feel free to leave comments on this site. Abe


Welcome to the New Business History blog. On this site you will find a call for papers for a special issue of Business History on new approaches to empirical business history research. You will also find a position paper that outlines a set of ideas.

The main purpose of the special issue and this site is to stimulate discussion on methods of research in business history. Therefore,  please take up our invitation and join the discussion by posting your ideas on this blog and by engaging in new business history research projects.

Please post your ideas on this main page or email directly to us.

Abe de Jong (; Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University) and David Higgins (; The University of York)