Call for Papers 2017

Association of Business Historians

Annual Conference 2017

‘The Human Factor in Business History’

University of Glasgow, 29 June – 1 July 2017

 Call for Papers

Understanding the strategy and structure of firms forms a vital part of the discipline of business history, as does the deployment of essential tools such as typologies of company forms, theories of the firm and firm growth and so on. But it is vital, too, for business historians to recognise and investigate those who stand at the heart of business history: the people who create firms, those who own them and those who work for them in various capacities (whether in head offices, in back offices or on the shop floor) to enable companies to function effectively (or, alternatively, passably or dysfunctionally). It is, after all, people who develop and deploy the skills, relationships and capabilities to allow all of this to happen. Just as important, though, is the human impact of the firm and other organisations that employ people, not least because even today those employed spend a very large proportion of their time in the workplace. Indeed, they are usually engaged for more time there than in any other activity with the exception of sleeping. The firm is therefore a place not only for work, which itself involves considerable human interaction, but also a focus for social life and identity.

The theme of the 2017 ABH conference is ‘The human factor in business history’. Proposals for individual papers or for full sessions, panel discussions or other session formats are invited on this topic, broadly conceived. Specific topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • Entrepreneurs, managers and/or workers
  • Leadership in business
  • Biographical and prosopographical approaches to business history
  • Networks and hierarchies in business as social systems
  • Cross-cultural issues in business and management
  • The impact of automation and technology on human interaction in the workplace
  • Industrial relations and human resource management
  • Gender roles and relations in the workplace
  • The human bases of company behaviour and misbehaviour
  • The human factor in SMEs, family enterprise, corporations and/or MNEs
  • Local, regional, national and transnational networks and business
  • The workplace as a community and focus for identity
  • Business and social movements
  • The impact of work and production on humans and the physical environment

As always, the ABH also welcomes proposals that are not directly related to the conference theme.

How to submit a paper or session proposal

The program committee will consider both individual papers and entire panels. Individual paper proposals should include a one-page (up to 300 word) abstract and one-page curriculum vitae (CV). Panel proposals should include a cover letter stating the rationale for the panel and the name of its contact person; one-page (300 word) abstract and author’s CV for each paper; and a list of preferred panel chairs and commentators with contact information.  The deadline for submissions is 15 January 2017.

Your application for the conference should come through our online submission platform.  Please use the following link:  Submit your Papers or Sessions.

First you make a choice for uploading a single paper or a full-session.  After pressing each button you will find a mask guiding you through the upload process.  Please have available your CV and your Abstract.  Any other idea regarding the conference – workshops, poster sessions, or panel discussions – must be suggested directly to the Programme Committee.


Call for Tony Slaven Doctoral Workshop in Business History, 29 June 2017

The ABH will hold its sixth annual Tony Slaven Doctoral Workshop on 29 June, 2017. This event is immediately preceding the 2017 ABH Annual Conference held in Glasgow. Participants in the Workshop are encouraged to attend the main ABH Annual Conference following the Workshop. The Workshop is an excellent opportunity for doctoral students to discuss their work with other research students and practicing academics in business history in an informal and supportive environment. Students at any stage of their doctoral career, whether in their first year or very close to submitting, are urged to come. In addition to providing new researchers with an opportunity to discuss their work with others in a related discipline, the Workshop will also include at least one skills-related session.

The Workshop interprets the term ‘business history’ broadly, and it is intended that students in areas such as (but not confined to) the history of international trade and investment, financial or economic history, agricultural history, not-for-profit organisations, government-industry relations, accounting history, social studies of technology, and historians or management or labour will find it useful. Students undertaking topics with a significant business history element but in disciplines other than economic and business history are also welcome. We welcome students researching any era or region of history.

There will be at least one session led by regular ABH members; in the past these have included ‘getting published’ and ‘using sources’ sessions.  There will be ample time for discussion of each student’s work and the opportunity to gain feedback from active researchers in the field.

How to Apply for the Tony Slaven Workshop

An application should be no more than 4 pages sent together in a single computer file:  1) a one page CV;  2) one page stating the names of the student’s supervisors, the title of the theses (a proposed title is fine),the university and department where the student is registered and the date of commencement of thesis registration; 3) an abstract of the work to be presented.

You may apply via email to Dr Mitch Larson at Please use the subject line “Tony Slaven Workshop” by the 15 January 2017.


Call for Coleman Prize for Best PhD Dissertation

Named in honour of the British business historian Donald Coleman (1920-1995), this prize is awarded annually by the Association of Business Historians to recognise excellence in new research in Britain. It is open to PhD dissertations in Business History (broadly defined) either having a British subject or completed at a British university. All dissertations completed in the previous calendar year to that of the Prize are eligible. In keeping with the ABH’s broad understanding of business history, applications are strongly encouraged from candidates in economic history, social history, labour history, intellectual history, cultural history, environmental history, the history of science and technology, the history of medicine, or any other subfield.

The value of the prize is £500, sponsored by the Taylor & Francis Group, a scholarly publisher. To be eligible for the Prize, finalists must present their findings in person at the Association's annual conference, held on 29 June and 1 July 2017 at the University of Glasgow. A complete list of previous winners may be found at

How to Apply for the Coleman Prize

Supervisors are encouraged to nominate recent PhDs, and self-nominations are also strongly welcomed. Please send a PDF including the title of your PhD dissertation and a brief abstract (up to 2 double-spaced pages) to by 15 January 2017. Shortlisted candidates will be requested to submit electronic copies of their theses by 15 February 2017. Finalists will be notified by 15 March 2017.


Deadline for All Submissions

The deadline for receipt of all proposals (papers, sessions and panels; Coleman Prize, and Tony Slaven Workshop) is 15 January 2017. Acceptance letters will be sent by 15th March 2017.  Everyone appearing on the program must register for the meeting. PhD students whose papers are accepted for the meeting may apply for funds to partially defray their travel costs by applying to the Francesca Carnevali Travel Grant for PhD Students. A limited number of scholarships are available from the Francesca Carnevali fund of the ABH to contribute towards the travel, accommodation, and registration costs of students doing a PhD in the United Kingdom, who are presenting in the Slaven Workshop or the ABH conference. These will be awarded competitively prior to the Workshop. Please indicate in your application whether you would like to be considered for one of these travel grants. To apply for this grant please email by 31 March 2017.  Further information about the Carnevali Grant will be placed on the ABH website early in the New Year at