Clio’s toolkit: historical methods beyond theory building from cases

R. Daniel Wadhwani, Stephanie Decker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Historical research in organization and management studies continues to be described as a type of inductive theory building from cases. But historical epistemology and methodological practices are better understood as a form of situated scholarly inquiry in which the researcher interprets or analyzes the past from a position in the present through a process of abductive reasoning. This chapter elaborates on the implications of the situated character of historical reasoning for the nature of historical knowledge claims, and for the methodological practices involved in scholarly historical research, including the treatment of evidence, the establishment of explanations, the attempt at understanding, and the foundations for evaluative conclusions. It concludes by considering the implications for the role of historical discourse within management and organization studies more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge companion to qualitative research in organization studies
EditorsRaza Mir, Sanjay Jain
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameRoutledge Companions in Business, Management and Accounting

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Companion to Qualitative Research in Organization Studies on 31/8/2017, available online:


  • abduction
  • historical methods
  • business history
  • Organizational history
  • inference to the best explanation
  • hermeneutics
  • triangulation
  • narrative
  • source criticism


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