Power, Archives and the Making of Rhetorical Organizational Histories: A Stakeholder Perspective

Andrew Popp, Susanna Fellman

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


    We contribute to the rhetorical history concept by focusing on the corporate archive, a key source for constructing rhetorical histories. We propose a stakeholder perspective as a way to model the constellation of power and interests around the corporate archive, identifying four key stakeholder groups: owners; archivists; historians; and audiences. Recent work has problematized the rhetorical history concept, arguing that rhetorical histories are more unstable and harder to control by managers than suggested by earlier work. This paper contributes by exploring the corporate archive as a source of contestation shaped by the varying degrees of power and interest held by key stakeholders. We propose a simple stakeholder perspective on the corporate archive before applying it to four case studies. Application allows us to refine this approach by revealing the interplay of forces around the corporate archive in relation to the construction of rhetorical history.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalOrganization Studies
    Issue number11
    Pages (from-to)1531-1549
    Number of pages19
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: 29. October 2019


    • Archives
    • Rhetorical history
    • Stakeholder perspective

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