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Montreal Local Global Research Group

MLGRG Conference Series
Speaker series
Dr. Sheila Puffer
Dr. Alan Rugman
Dr. Roy Suddaby
Dr. Robert Hoskisson
Dr. Ayse Saka-Helmhout
Dr. John Cantwell
Dr. Alvaro Cuervo-Cazurra
Dr. Giovanni Battista Dag
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The Third presenters in the MLGRG speaker series is Professor Roy Suddaby

Eldon Foote Chair of Law and Society, the Eric Geddes Professor of Business,Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta, Canada. Friday, Feb 10, 2011


The presentation titled

Rhetorical History as a Source of Competitive Advantage: Mnemonic Entrepreneurs

In his presentation, Dr. Suddaby explained a joint paper that develops a theoretical framework for understanding history as a source of competitive advantage. He explained that prior research suggests that some firms enjoy preferential access to resources as a result of their past. Historians, by contrast, understand past events as more than an objective account of reality. History also has an interpretive function. History is a social and rhetorical construction that can be shaped and manipulated to motivate, persuade, and frame action, both within and outside an organization. Dr. Suddaby, therefore, advocated that the capacity to manage history can, itself, be a rare and inimitable resource.  A critical role in this process is played by corporate historians who are asked to occupy an interpretive role betweenunderstanding history as an objective function (i.e. “brute facts”) and as an interpretive function (i.e. rhetorical history). The presented research is based on interviews with leading corporate historians at Fortune 500 corporations (i.e. Coca Cola, Pan Am, GE, Harley Davidson etc) to explicate the role of “mnemonic entrepreneurs” in managing history for competitive advantage.

 Dr. Suddaby during the presentation


Roy Suddaby is the Eldon Foote Chair of Law and Society and the Eric Geddes Professor of Business at the Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta. He is the editor of the Academy of Management Review and is or has been an editorial board member of the Academy of Management Journal, Administrative Science Quarterly, Organization Studies, Journal of Management Studies and the Scandinavian Management Review. He has won best paper awards from the Academy of Management Review, Administrative Science Quarterly and the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada. His research focuses on how institutions and organizations change



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