UCL School of Management

Research project

History, memory and identity


This ongoing project explores how organizations experience history through memory, and how this experience shapes their identity, strategy, and new product development. A comparative study of four corporate museums  – Alessi, Alfa Romeo, Ducati, and Piaggio – helped me uncover how material forms of memory are used to inspire current action (Ravasi, Rindova, & Stigliani, 2019). A historical study of family mottos in long-lived Japanese firms has illuminated how organizations grappled with distinguished history when disruptive action is required (Sasaki, Kotlar, Ravasi & Vaara, 2019).


This work has contributed to shifting attention from rhetorical reconstructions of history to how history is experienced and grappled with in organizations, by showing that history is less malleable than currently assumed, and what is remembered (or forgotten) about organizations is not entirely under the control of senior managers.

Selected publications

Ravasi, D., Rindova, V., & Stigliani, I. (2019). The stuff of legend: History, memory, and the temporality of organizational identity construction. Academy of Management Journal. doi:10.5465/amj.2016.0505 [link]
Sasaki, I., Ravasi, D., & Micelotta, E. R. (2019). Family firms as institutions: Cultural reproduction and status maintenance among multi-centenary shinise in Kyoto. Organization Studies. doi:10.1177/0170840618818596 [link]
Sasaki, I., Kotlar, J., Ravasi, D., & Vaara, E. (2019). Dealing with revered past: Historical identity statements and strategic change in Japanese family firms. Strategic Management Journal. doi:10.1002/smj.3065 [link]
Last updated Tuesday, 1 December 2020


Research groups

Strategy & Entrepreneurship

Research areas

Organization theory