What if?

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    As the `historic turn' in management and organization studies gathers pace scholars are shifting their attention to questions such as what constitutes management and organization history.This article debates and advances the prospects of using virtual history in management and organization theory. The article begins by reviewing some of the most vociferous opponents of counterfactual history and it addresses each one of their arguments in turn. It then proceeds on to consider a range of perspectives on the criteria that should be used to ensure scholarly rigour in the writing of counterfactual history. Following, the article seeks to advance the prospects of using counterfactual history in management and organization theory. The article concludes that counterfactuals already constitute an important part of both our cognitive and scholarly processes of reasoning, and they influence judgements and decision-making. Consequently, they have the potential to make valuable contributions to both the theory and practice of researching and managing organizations.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)295-314
    Number of pages20
    JournalManagement and Organizational History
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • managerial decision-making
    • organization theory
    • virtual history


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