Professor Stephanie Decker FHEA, MA, PG Cert

Professor Stephanie Decker

The Department of Strategy and International Business
Professor in Strategy

Contact details

Address
Department of Strategy & International Business
Birmingham Business School
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TY

Stephanie is Professor of Strategy at Birmingham Business School and the departmental research director from September 2022. She is also a visiting professor in African Business History at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2020-2024), co-Vice Chair Research & Publications at the British Academy of Management, and joint Editor-in-Chief of Business History. As a historian working at a business school, she is interested in how to theorise from historical research and in developing archival and historical methods to study organizations. Her research has been published in Academy of Management Review, Human Relations, Business & Society, Business History and Business History Review.

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Qualifications

Professor of Strategy:

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now Advance HE) – PR057259, 2013
  • PG Cert in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, University of Liverpool, 2010
  • PhD,University of Liverpool, School of History, 2006
  • MA in 20th History, University of Liverpool, School of History, 2001
  • Magistra Artium, intermediate examination (equivalent to BA),University of Cologne, Economic & Social History, International Law, Social Anthropology, 2002

Biography

Stephanie is Professor of Strategy at Birmingham Business School and the Departmental Research Director (Strategy & International Business) 2022-2025. She is also visiting professor in African Business History at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2020-2024), Co-Vice Chair Research & Publications at the British Academy of Management and joint Editor-in-Chief of Business History.

As a historian working at a business school, her work is concerned with the connection between the social sciences and history, specifically organization studies, strategy, international business and (business) history. She is interested in how to theorise from historical research and in developing archival and historical methods to study organizations. Her historical research focuses on the history of organizations, entrepreneurs and the wider political economy in Africa. 

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Teaching

  • International Business (MBA)

Postgraduate supervision

Stephanie has supervised and examined several doctoral students in business and management and is interested in supervising students on subjects such as:
- International strategy.
- Historical research in the study of organizations and management.
- Business and development in Africa.

She is currently co-supervising a student at the University of Bristol, Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Research

Stephanie's work has been published in Academy of Management Review, Journal of Management Studies, Human Relations, Business & Society and Business History. She has received research funding from the Economic & Social Science Research Council, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust, the Newton Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (US) and the British Academy. She has held visiting appointments at the University of Cagliari (Italy) Copenhagen Business School (Denmark) and Humboldt University Berlin (Germany).

Her work has been widely recognized in business and management, and business history, and won several prizes, including:

  • The Emerald Citations of Excellence 2017 for her co-authored AMR article;
  • The Henrietta Lawson Prize (twice), the first time for the best article in Business History Review in 2018, for her single-authored article on multinational legitimization strategies in Ghana and Nigeria; and the second time for her co-authored article on Enron with Adam Nix and Carola Wolf in 2021;
  • The Best Full Paper Award in the African Studies Track at British Academy of Management 2020 for her co-authored paper with George Obeng on base-of-pyramid approaches in Ghana.

Stephanie’s current research spans the three distinct areas. She continued to develop historical methods and appraches to organizational memory in strategy, international business and organization studies. As a co-editor of the forthcoming Handbook of Historical Methods in Management (Edward Elgar, 2023), she continues to support greater diversity and accessibility of historical approaches in business and management.

Her business historical research focuses on the interaction of multinationals and international organizations with non-Western societies, with a focus on West Africa. She has recently published a book on Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History (Routledge, 2023) and she continues to promote more diverse, interdisciplinary and international research in the field in her role as joint editor-in-chief for Business History (since 2019). During her tenure she has expanded the size of the editorial team and the editorial board, and developed the social media presence of the journal to make the editorial process more accessible to authors and revieweres.

In collaboration with the archival sector, she has conducted several research projects on digital archives, computational archival science and approaches to big qualitative datasets, with a particular focus on email archives. This research has been supported by the AHRC and is currently funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. 

Other activities

Stephanie is a member of Unilever’s Independent Research Panel which oversees research into the organization’s use of unfree labour in the Congo and the Solomon Islands. She has presented research to Lloyds Banking Group and BEIS on responsible uses of the past. 

As part of her research into digital archival practice, she has presented at several professional development events for archivists, record and knowledge managers, including the Government Knowledge Information Management Profession and the Digital Archives Learning Exchange. She was part of the committee that evaluated applications by UK archives to managed to the rescued Thomas Cook archive in 2019.

Stephanie’s research on Africa has been cited in the Sunday Times, and she has given interviews to BBC Radio 4 and Swiss Radio about the importance of saving the Thomas Cook Archive.

Scientific advisory roles:

  • Member of the Scientific Committee of the Chartered Association of Business Schools Academic Journal Guide since 2022
  • International Scientific Advisory Board for the Austrian Society of Business History, University of Graz, Austria [Internationaler Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (ÖGU)] since 2022
  • Scientific Advisory Board for the Bochum Series in Business and Industrial History at Brill Publishing, Germany [Wissenschaftlichen Beirat der Bochumer Schriften zur Unternehmens- und Industriegeschichte] since 2021
  • Member of Advisory Committee for postdoctoral project on “History, Nationalism, and Business”, Dr Christian Stutz, University of Jyvaeskylae, Finland (Academy of Finland), 2021-24

Publications

Highlight publications

Decker, SD 2022, 'Introducing the eventful temporality of historical research into international business', Journal of World Business, vol. 57, no. 6, 101380. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2022.101380

Decker, S, Hassard, J & Rowlinson, M 2021, 'Rethinking history and memory in organization studies: the case for historiographical reflexivity', Human Relations, vol. 74, no. 8, pp. 1123-1155. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018726720927443

Rowlinson, M, Hassard, J & Decker, S 2014, 'Research strategies for organizational history: A dialogue between historical theory and organization theory', The Academy of Management Review, vol. 39, no. 3, pp. 250-274. https://doi.org/10.5465/amr.2012.0203

Decker, S 2013, 'The silence of the archives: Business history, post-colonialism and archival ethnography', Management & Organizational History, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 155-173. https://doi.org/10.1080/17449359.2012.761491

Nix, A & Decker, S 2021, 'Using digital sources: the future of business history?', Business History. https://doi.org/10.1080/00076791.2021.1909572

Recent publications

Book

Decker, S 2022, Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group.

Article

Decker, S & Obeng Dankwah, G 2022, 'Co-opting business models at the base of the pyramid (BOP): microentrepreneurs and multinational enterprises in Ghana', Business & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/00076503221085935

Nix, A, Decker, S & Wolf, C 2022, 'Enron and the California energy crisis: the role of networks in enabling organizational corruption', Business History Review, vol. 95, no. 4, pp. 765-802. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007680521001008

Decker, S, Kirsch, D, Kuppili Venkata, S & Nix, A 2022, 'Finding light in dark archives: using AI to connect context and content in email', AI & Society, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 859–872. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-021-01369-9

Alammar, AA, Rezk, A, Alaswad, A, Fernando, J, Olabi, AG, Decker, S, Ruhumuliza, J & Gasana, Q 2022, 'The technical, economic, and environmental feasibility of a bioheat-driven adsorption cooling system for food cold storing: a case study of Rwanda', Energy, vol. 258, 124560. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2022.124560

Chapter

Decker, S 2022, African Managers in British Businesses. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-8

Decker, S 2022, Africanization in Companies and the Civil Service. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-7

Decker, S 2022, Archival Historical Research in Management. in SAGE Research Methods Cases: Business & Management. SAGE Publications. https://doi.org/srmc-2022-4001

Decker, S 2022, Conclusion. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-9

Decker, S 2022, Corporate Political Activities before and after Independence. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-4

Decker, S 2022, Indigenization Programmes and Organizational Legitimacy. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-5

Decker, S 2022, Introduction. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-1

Decker, S 2022, Organizational Legitimacy and the Development Discourse. in Postcolonial Transitions and Global Business History: British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria. Routledge International Studies in Business History, Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001058-2

Web publication/site

Decker, S, Nix, A, Kuppili Venkata, S, Kirsch, D & Girish Jain, S, EMCODIST: Email Contextualization Discovery Tool, 2022, Web publication/site.

Decker, S, Kirsch, D, Nix, A & Kuppili Venkata, S, The Dotcom Archive: Contextualizing Email Archives, 2022, Web publication/site. <https://dotcomarchive.bristol.ac.uk/>

View all publications in research portal

Expertise

Languages and other information

  • English, German (fluent)
  • French, Spanish, Portuguese (basic)

Media experience

Stephanie’s research on Africa has been cited in the Sunday Times, and she has given interviews to BBC Radio 4 and Swiss Radio about the importance of saving the Thomas Cook Archive.

You can see her YouTube channel

Social Media

  • International Scientific Advisory Board for the Austrian Society of Business History, University of Graz, Austria [Internationaler Wissenschaftlicher Beirat der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (ÖGU)] since 2022
  • Scientific Advisory Board for the Bochum Series in Business and Industrial History at Brill Publishing, Germany [Wissenschaftlichen Beirat der Bochumer Schriften zur Unternehmens- und Industriegeschichte] since 2021

Expertise

Stephanie is a member of Unilever’s Independent Research Panel which oversees research into the organization’s use of unfree labour in the Congo and the Solomon Islands. She has presented research to Lloyds Banking Group and BEIS on responsible uses of the past.

As part of her research into digital archival practice, she has presented at several professional development events for archivists, record and knowledge managers, including GKIM and DALE. She was part of the committee that evaluated applications by UK archives to managed to the rescued Thomas Cook archive in 2019.