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Revisionist History

Revisionist history is the tendency to reinterpret the events or meanings of the past in terms of current facts, views, or preferences. The revision of organizational history can be a positive or negative enterprise—that is, it can be done either for legitimate reasons (e.g., new factual evidence about historical events comes to light) or for illegitimate reasons (e.g., historical evidence is distorted or invented to serve current image and reputation desires). This entry focuses on the case of leaders altering organizational history to make it (appear to) fit with currently desired interpretations. Given that organizations are powerful contexts where performance, impressions, and reputations matter, there are always forces in play that influence people to interpret information—even putatively factual historical information—in particular ways. This entry discusses ...

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