UCL School of Management is delighted to welcome , Sandeep Pillai, Bocconi university, to host a research seminar discussing: ‘The Role of Historical Methods in Strategy Research: Bringing the gap between Likeliness and Loveliness’.
How should strategy scholars weigh the relative importance of explanations that vary in their fundamental character to infer to the best explanation? We suggest that, when inferring the best explanation, Strategy scholars must make judgments about candidate explanations’ likeliness, which refers to how close an explanation is to the truth, and loveliness, which refers to an explanation’s capacity to generate potential understanding. In this paper, we suggest that historical methods – generally, the analysis and representation of the past through the interpretation of traces of the past – help us inscribe preferences about likeliness and loveliness into our choices of explanations. Further, we suggest that when confronting the challenge of inference to the best explanation, historical methods provide a set of tools to generate and evaluate explanations systematically, thereby allowing strategy scholars to make judgments about the trade-off between loveliness and likeliness.