In this article, we explore how thinking historically may benefit critical work and organisational psychology (hereafter WOP). We start from the premise that ‘the essence of psychological categories … lies in their status as historically constructed objects’ (Danziger, 1997, p. 12), reflecting the argument that ‘social psychology is primarily an historical inquiry’ (Gergen, 1973, p. 310). From this perspective, we cannot understand WOP unless we attend to the way that it is embedded within ‘the cultural and historical nature of the topics that the subject addresses’ (Billig, 2018, p. 286). Put simply, WOP needs to be understood within the historical, social and cultural context of its development, and in this article, we aim to further the project of a critical-historical understanding of WOP (cf. Sullivan, 2020; Teo, 2020).