Responsibility of Business

Ann-Kristin Bergquist

Ann-Kristin Bergquist

Job Title

Thomas K. McCraw Fellow in U.S. Business History, 2017-2018
Being a visiting research fellow at the Harvard Business School provided an exceptional opportunity to meet a diverse range of scholars from around the world to debate the most challenging issues of our time.

The global economy is in a transitional phase. Being a visiting research fellow at the Harvard Business School provided an exceptional opportunity to meet a diverse range of scholars from around the world to debate the most challenging issues of our time. As an historian focused on business and sustainability, the Business History Initiative provided an open, encouraging, and interdisciplinary environment to explore different avenues of thought and test new theories.

The McCraw Fellowship provided me with a unique opportunity to re-evaluate and deepen my research about the history of business and environmental and social sustainability in a global context. I was able to meet scholars involved in a broad spectrum of research domains; from emerging markets to corporate sustainability, which made it possible to synthesize my earlier research in a much bigger picture. The comprehensive and rich collections at the Harvard libraries, along with energetic assistance from the librarians, were also indispensable resources.

During my fellowship, I was honestly surprised by the number of faculty who were critically examining the purpose of value creation and responsibility of business—both in their research and in the classroom. As an historian, I found it fascinating to experience how critical research questions brought together scholars across academic disciplines. In that sense, I felt privileged to take part in the planning of a conference on roadblocks to sustainability. That experience reflects the interdisciplinary culture of the Business History Initiative, where important research issues—rather than academic disciplines—bring scholars together.