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Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History$
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Alexander Bieri

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381373

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381373.001.0001

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Stick or Twist? Or:

Stick or Twist? Or:

What Has the Company Ever Taught Us?

(p.3) Stick or Twist? Or
Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History

Jonathan Steffen

Liverpool University Press

What is corporate history, and what should companies do with it? Jonathan Steffen examines the place of company histories in our current world. What might we reasonably expect to learn from the history of a company? Can there be a credible moral purpose to the way a commercial organization recounts its past? The text questions the purpose of history itself, reflecting on various definitions, the relationship between official and unofficial history-telling, and attributes of company histories. It meditates on the purpose of the corporation, from the days of Victorian high capitalism to today’s world of virtual companies, global brands and consumer activism, before addressing the question of who actually owns any company’s history and therefore gets to tell it. Finally, Jonathan asks whether companies should cultivate histories to preserve their values in the face of ever-new demands, or deliberately break with the past to evolve and survive in new forms.

Keywords:   business history, corporate history, commercial organizations

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