The Boletín de la Red de Estudios de Historia de Empresas (Business History Studies Network Bulletin) is issued every semester in Spanish. Its purpose is to provide virtual information and become a discussion forum for researchers from several fields who are interested in business history. The Bulletin contains two main sections –“Debates” and “Archives”- introducing new issues, topics and sources for the study of business history. It also includes a section on bibliographical reviews and current information on seminars, lectures, publications, dissertations and other field-specific materials.
The “Debates” section features articles, papers, and books that posit new theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as contributions to international historiography for business history. Every featured article includes an introduction that supplies background information on the author’s work, describing his/her field of speciality and major themes, and summarily discussing topic-relevant notions. Selected pieces are readily available, as an attachment or as links to the specific website.
Over the Bulletin’s past eleven issues, a number of debates and topics has been selected (see list). The first Bulletin introduced one of the many approaches fueling the debate on the Chandlerian paradigm –a topic always present in business history theoretical and methodological discussions, that has reached its momentum in the 1990s. The Bulletin’s second issue continued on this track, with a piece from the so-called “American heterodoxy”, offering an alternative view to the Chandlerian model in Business History studies.
In the third issue, the Bulletin set out to discuss the latest European debates and historiographic contributions, relying on a report of a comparative history project on European companies’ economic performance in the 20th century. Its fourth issue presented a piece on the new approaches to business historiography set forth by the Organizational Theories and by Economic Sociology. The purpose was to focus on two prominent issues of business history agenda: neo-institutional analysis and the social networks analysis in Economics. The fifth issue reviewed the alternative explanations to the Chandlerian paradigm that analyze the firms organizational changes in response to the technological and economic shift caused by the second industrial revolution.
Argentinean entrepreneurship was the subject of the sixth issue, introducing a critical look at the existing literature on the role and traits of local businessmen from the 19th through the 21st century. The paper discusses current local historiography by underscoring the empirical evidence and comparing different Argentine firms and business leaders. In its seventh issue, the Bulletin focused on a topic of increasing interest in business historiography –the origins, characteristics and role of family businesses in capitalism- based on the analysis of Italian firms. This piece questions the view of family businesses as organizations strictly associated with early industrialization stages, undermining the anomalous nature of their persistence throughout the 20th century.
In its eighth edition, the Bulletin featured a piece that delved into the long, fruitful ties between business history tradition and international studies, showing why “history matters” and how historians can contribute to key issues underpinning contemporary international business studies by crossing field boundaries. Next, the Bulletin returned to the topic of family businesses with a paper on the associations created by large family businesses in Spain, whose pattern combines traits from U.S. business study centers and European firms’ partnership practices.
The tenth issue presented an interesting piece by a Latin American author who discusses the historical and cultural drivers of Latin America’s business community in order to raise several issues and enrich regional business history efforts. In addition, this paper dwells on entrepreneurship, a coming back topic, largely neglected by the researchers associated with the Chandlerian paradigm. Finally, the last edition looked at the state companies in European history, with a piece that analyzes the origins and tracks the records of the European state companies, providing new tools to understand and assess this type of businesses in several industries.
A special section of the Bulletin provides information about Business History archives and sources in Latin America, also presenting the contemporary debates focused on Business History documentation (see details below). This section aims to spread out the localization and procedures to accede to different collections, brings information on the preservation and cataloguing projects and promotes the debate on adequate practices and policies to preserve Business History primary sources.
The Books Review section not only considers the recently published books of Business History and entrepreneurship in Argentina and Latin America but also includes notes and discussions based on books from other disciplines and topics that contribute to theoretical and methodological aspects of Business History. The tenth issue gave place to a special section of historiographical essays about recent works and debates.
Finally, there are current sections which provide up-to-date information about: a) Conferences, including the call for papers for national and International events on Business History; and the review of recent Conferences and Workshops; b) Academic Journals of Business History and Economic History; c) Resources, referring to useful International websites where scholars can get specific research resources on Business History; d) Dissertations, including a summary of recent dissertations on Business History in order to promote the exchange of information among the scholars. Several issues also contained an “Historical Summary of Companies and Managers” to describe the trajectory of selected Argentine firms and industrial leaders.
List of articles and papers discussed in the “Debates” Section
No.1 Title: “Beyond Markets and Hierarchies: Toward a New Synthesis of American Business History”. Authors: Lamoreaux, Naomi; Daniel Raff and Peter Temin; NBER Working Paper Series, Working Paper 9029. Introduced by María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.2 Title: “Endless Novelty: Specialty Production and American Industrialization, 1865-1925: An overview”. Author: Philip Scranton. (The author authorized the publication of the paper in the Bulletin). (Italian version published in Annali di Storia dell’Impresa, nº10, 1999, pp.240-287) Introduced by María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.3 Title: “The Performance of European Business in the Twentieth Century: a Pilot Study”, in Business and Economic History on line, vol.1, 2003. Authors: Youssef Cassis and Camilla Brautaset. Introduced by María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.4 Titles: “Neither Market nor Hierarchy: Network Forms of Organization”, in Research in Organizational Behavior, Vol. 12. pp. 295-336 (1990) and “Networks and Economic Life”, in The Handbook of Economic Sociology, Second Edition, edited by por N.J. Smelser and R. Swedberg. Princeton, NJ: Russell Sage Foundation/Princeton University Press., 2005, pp. 379-402 (2005). Authors: Walter W. Powell and Laurel Smith-Doerr. Introduced by Andrea Lluch (Harvard Business School).
No.5 Title: “Neither Modularity nor Relational Contracting: Inter-Firm Collaboration in the New Economy”, in Enterprise & Society, 5:3, 2004, pp. 388-403. Authors: Charles F. Sabel and Jonathan Zeitlin. Introduced by Norma Lanciotti (Universidad Nacional de Rosario/CONICET, Argentina)
No.6 Title: “Empresarios, instituciones y desarrollo económico: el caso argentino” (Businessmen, Institutions and Economic Development: the Argentine Case), Buenos Aires, CEPAL, 2006. Author: Andrés López (Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina). Introduced by María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.7 Title: “When the Family is Strong, When the Family is Weak: A Critical Evaluation of a Century of Italian Capitalism”. Author: Andrea Colli (Università Bocconi, Milan, Italy). Introduced by Norma Lanciotti (Universidad Nacional de Rosario/CONICET, Argentina)
No.8 Title: “Bringing history (back) into international business”. Authors: Geoffrey Jones and Tarun Khanna (Harvard Business School, Boston, USA). Introduced by Andrea Lluch (Harvard Business School – CONICET, Argentina)
No.9 Title: “Global businesses, global lobbies. The birth of the Spanish lobby of family firms in an international perspective”. Authors: Paloma Fernández Pérez (Centre d´Estudis Antoni de Capmany/Universitat de Barcelona) and Nuria Puig Raposo (Universidad Complutense de Madrid). Introduced by María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.10 Title: “Entrepreneurship and Cultural Values in Latin America, 1850-2000. From Modernization and Dependency Theories toward a Business History Perspective” Author: Carlos Dávila (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia). Introduced by María Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.11 Title: “Privatisation in the European Union. Public Enterprises and Integration”, Dordrecth, Netherlands, Kluwer Academic, 2003. Authors: Judith Clifton, Francisco Comín and Daniel Díaz Fuentes. Introduced by Francisco Comín (Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid) and
Daniel Díaz Fuentes (Universidad de Cantabria, Santander)
List of articles of the “Companies’ Files” Section (“Archivos de Empresas”)
No.1 Article: “The Relevance of business archives in the Contemporary Times: The Mexican Case” Contributor: Carlos Marichal (El Colegio de México)
No.2 Report on the Special Collections and Archives Section (Sección Colecciones Especiales y Archivos), Max von Buch Library, Universidad de San Andrés, Buenos Aires, Argentina Contributor: Silvana Piga (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina)
No.3 Article: “The Banco Provincial de Santa Fe Archives and the Banks’ History in Argentina”. Contributor: Carina Frid (Universidad Nacional de Rosario/ CONICET, Argentina).
No.4 Report on Railways’ Archives (Argentina). Contributor: Elena Salerno (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina).
No.5: Report on the Archives of “Barraca Americana. Hufnagel y Plottier S.A.”, Concepción del Uruguay, Entre Ríos, Argentina. Contributor: Celia Gladys López (Universidad Autónoma de Entre Ríos, Argentina)
No.6 Article: “Industrial Archeology in Argentina: a Necessary Development for the Protection and Management of the Industrial Heritage and the Memory of Work”. Contributor: Carlos Paz (Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina)
No.7 Report on the “Archivo Intermedio” Department, National Archives (Archivo General de la Nación, Argentina). Contributor: Elisabet Cipoletta (Archivo General de la Nación, Argentina)
No.8 Report and summary of the Workshop “Archives and Sources for Business History in Argentina: Diagnosis and Prospects” (Archivos y Fuentes para la Historia de Empresas en la Argentina: Diagnóstico y Perspectivas Futuras), Buenos Aires, March 2008. Contributors: Andrea Lluch (Harvard Business School – CONICET, Argentina) and Maria Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina).
No.9 Report on the presentations and topics analyzed in the Round Table “Public Archives and the Sources for Economic and Business History in Argentina” (“Los archivos públicos y las fuentes para la historia económica y empresarial en la Argentina”), XI Economic History Congress, Argentine Association of Economic History (Asociación Argentina de Historia Económica), Caseros, Argentina, September 2008. Contributors: Andrea Lluch (Harvard Business School – CONICET, Argentina), Andrés Regalsky (Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero/CONICET, Argentina) and Elena Salerno(Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero, Argentina).
No.10 Transcription of the Presentations of the Workshop “Archives and Sources for Business History in Argentina: Diagnosis and Prospects” (“Archivos y fuentes para la historia de empresas en la Argentina: Diagnóstico y perspectivas futuras”) Buenos Aires, March 2008. Contributors: Maria Inés Barbero (Universidad de San Andrés) y Andrea Lluch (Harvard Business School – CONICET, Argentina).
No.11: Report on the book Los Archivos de Empresas, qué son y cómo se tratan (Company Files: what they are and how to deal with them), Gijón: Editorial Trea, 2009. Contributor: José Andrés González Pedraza, Archivist of the Sociedad Anónima Hullera Vasco-Leonesa (León, Spain).