The four organisers, Laura Fey, Andrew Burns, Robert Dawson Scott and Martin McCluskey are all doctoral researchers at different stages in their progress.
As well as the formal sessions, opportunities to network and get to know colleagues (both students and faculty) were built into the day.
The day was planned as a hybrid event, with access online as well as in person. This was inkeeping with lessons learned during the Covid pandemic which, while a difficult and dispiriting time in many ways, has opened up avenues for dramatically increasing access to events of this kind.
Two keynote speakers were invited, Professor Andrew Brown and Professor Michael Rowlinson.
Session were planned around their keynote addresses, with further contributions from three doctoral researchers, introducing elements of their own work.
About a dozen guests (both students and faculty), including visitors from the University of Durham and Napier University in Edinburgh, joined in person with some 30 others joining online.
The sessions, each chaired by one of the organisers, were followed by a closing panel session comprising the main speakers, Professor Chris Carter from the Business School (who has himself done some work in this field and is supervising the theses of three of the four organisers), and Dr Ron Kerr, also from the Business School.
The event was launched with a short address from the Dean of the School, Professor Wendy Loretto, who welcomed the visiting academics and wished the participants a fruitful day.
Session One: Identities and identity work
Chair: Robert Dawson Scott
The keynote speaker was Professor Andrew Brown, Professor of Organisation Studies at the University of Bath, who spoke about his efforts to drop a big tent over the sprawling field of identity work. This followed his paper, 'Identities in and around organisations: towards an identity work perspective' in Human Relations (2021), pp. 1–33.
He was followed by Martin McCluskey, who introduced his study into how the Scottish Labour Party declined from having 56 of Scotland's 72 Parliamentary seats in 1997 to just one in the most recent General Election, suggesting that this is to do with the organisation and not simply a change in the political weather.
Laura Fey spoke of her research into how the organisation behind the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, founded in 1947 and now the largest ticketed event in the world after the Olympics, had allowed what was once an entirely open and inclusive festival to become more or less exclusive (although it still proclaims its inclusivity).
Stella Kyratzi outlined her research into the rise of platform-based working and the relationship between workers, end users, and the algorithm which powers it.
Session Two: History: more than just context? Rhetorical history and collective memory
Chair: Martin McCluskey
The keynote speaker was Professor Michael Rowlinson, Professor of Management and Organisational History, University of Exeter who, in a lively presentation, spoke about the evolution of, and problems remaining for, Historical Organisation Studies.
This s a field he had, albeit inadvertently, called into being in a much-cited paper in 2004: Clark and Rowlinson, 'The treatment of history in organisation studies; towards an 'historic turn'? Business History 46(3):331–352.
Professor Rowlinson was followed by Robert Dawson Scott who presented some early findings into his research into the history of Edinburgh's financial elite.
Andrew Burns then introduced his work on the history of the Scottish Parliament and the way the civic organisations which had worked so hard to bring it into being had been overtaken by political party machines once it was up and running.
Finally, Leanne Hedberg joined online from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, to introduce her study into how successful local green campaigners failed to become part of the environmental structures they put in place themselves.
Following the conclusion of the discussion a networking event was held in the School foyer, which allowed for further discussion among the participants.
Overall, the event was undoubtedly a success. Presentations from both the keynote speakers and doctoral students were of a high standard, and provoked useful academic discussions.