Business Schools and Their Contribution to Society


Edited by: Mette Morsing & Alfons Sauquet Rovira

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  • Back Matter
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  • Part 1: Historical and Geographical Perspectives on Business School Legitimacy

    Part 2: Towards a New Legitimacy for Business Schools in Global Society

    Part 3: Business Schools' Role in Shaping and Transforming Ethical Business Conduct

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    Notes on Contributors

    Christoph Badelt has been Rector at Wu (Vienna University of Economics and Business) since 2002. Since 1989, he has been Professor for economic and social policy at Wu. From 1998 to 2002, he was Vice-Rector for infrastructure and has been Rector since 2002. he was President of universities Austria from 2005 to 2009 and has been Vice-President, WIFO (Austrian Institute of Economic Research) since 2008.

    Michael Barzelay is Professor of Public Management based in the London School of Economics's Department of Management. A political scientist by background, he is author of a number of books, including Breaking through Bureaucracy (university of California Press, 1992), The New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Dialogue (university of California Press, 2001), and Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning in the US Air Force (Brookings Institution Press, 2003). he has served as Co-Editor of Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Institutions, and Administration and is Executive Director of the Center for Transformation and Strategic Initiatives in Washington, DC. he received an honorary doctorate from the University of St Gallen in 2010.

    Thomas M. Begley is a Professor, and currently Dean of University College Dublin (UCD) Business School in Ireland, which includes the Michael Smurfit Graduate School and the Quinn School. he formerly held the Governor Hugh L. Carey Chair in Organizational Behavior at UCD. he has a Bachelor's degree from Seton hall University and Master's and PhD degrees from Cornell University, New York.

    David Bevan completed his PhD in Accounting at King's College London. he is currently Academic Director of the Academy of Business in Society; Professor of Management and Applied Ethics at Grenoble Graduate Business School. David is a Senior Wicklander Fellow at the Institute for Professional and Business Ethics (DePaul).

    Thomas Bieger is President of the University of Gallen and is a full Professor of Business Administration with specialization in Tourism since 1999 and Director of the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance since December 2010. he was Secretary General of the AIEST (International Association of scientific Experts in Tourism) and he is the Chairman of CEMS (Global Alliance in Management Education). From 2003 to 2005, he served as Dean of the Faculty of Management at the University of St Gallen. From 2005 to 2010, he was Vice President of the University of St Gallen.

    Adam Budnikowski has been the Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics since 2005, currently serving his second term. he was born in 1948 and is a graduate of the Poznan University of Economics (MA) and the Warsaw School of Economics (PhD). Fulbright scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985–1987 and Visiting Professor at the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main in 1989–1990, his area of expertise is international economics.

    Didier de Callataÿ is President of the Louvain School of Management and a Senior Lecturer at the université Catholique de Louvain. he graduated as a civil engineer and followed this with a postgraduate in Management Studies awarded by the ‘université Catholique de Louvain’. he is one of the founding partners of ‘Callataÿ and Wouter’, a leading provider of innovative IT solutions for banks where he is now Chairman of the Board. Callataÿ and Wouters employs more than 500 consultants, with an international reach spanning more than 15 countries. Didier de Callataÿ is also.

    Manuel Escudero is General Director of Deusto Business School. he was Executive Director of the Research Centre for the UN Global Compact of the New York State University. Since 2003, he has worked for the united Nations as a Special Advisor to UN Global Compact and Director of the Secretariat of the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education.

    Saul Estrin is Professor of Management and head of the Department of Management at the London School of Economics. he is best known for his work on privatization, foreign direct investment and entrepreneurship. he was formerly Adecco Professor of Business and Society at London Business School where he was also Deputy Dean (Faculty and Research) and Acting Dean. his publications include the widely cited Privatisation in Central and Eastern Europe (1996); Foreign Direct Investment into Transition Economies (2004); and Investment Strategies in Emerging Markets (2004). he is on the Editorial Advisory Boards of several scholarly journals including the Journal of Business Venturing and Emerging Markets and Finance. he also writes for policy journals such as Business Strategy Review, of which he was Editor.

    Maria Tereza Leme Fleury is Dean of the Fundação Getulio Vargas, EAESP. She is Research Fellow at the IFM Cambridge University and Director of ANPAD, the Brazilian Academy of Management. Professor Fleury has authored or edited 20 books and published over 65 academic papers in the field of strategy and competence management and international management.

    Patrick T. Gibbons is the Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Strategic Management at University College Dublin (UCD), Ireland. he is currently Associate Dean at the School and is a member of the Governing Authority of UCD. he graduated with a PhD in Strategy from the University of Pittsburgh. Previous academic appointments have included Peking University; HKUST; Penn State; the University of Pittsburgh, and Nanyang Business School in Singapore.

    Robert Grosse is a Professor, and Dean of the EGADE Business School at Monterrey Tec in Mexico. Previously, he was the head of Leadership Development and Learning at Standard Bank of South Africa. he holds a BA from Princeton University and a PhD from the university of North Carolina, both in international economics. he has taught at Thunderbird, the University of Miami, the University of Michigan, Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, Spain), and in many universities in Latin America.

    Alan Irwin has been Dean of Research at Copenhagen Business School since 2007. he is currently also Acting President. his PhD is from the University of Manchester. he has previously been a Dean at the University of Liverpool and at Brunel University. his academic work is on science and technology policy.

    Muel Kaptein PhD is Professor of Business Ethics and Integrity Management at the Department of Business-Society Management at RSM Erasmus University. his research interests include the management of ethics, the measurement of ethics, and the ethics of management. Muel is also partner of KPMG. More information can be found at

    Eero Kasanen is Professor of Finance at Aalto University School of Economics, Finland, a former Rector of Helsinki School of Economics and Dean of Aalto University School of Economics. he has doctorates from Harvard Business School and Turku School of Economics and has served on the CEMS Strategy and Executive Board, the EFMD Board and the EQUIS Awarding Body. Research interests cover financial reporting, real options, research methodology, and business ethics. he has served on the boards of several listed companies and research foundations.

    Valery S. Katkalo is Vice-Rector of St. Petersburg State University and Dean of the Graduate School of Management. he received undergraduate and Doctoral degrees in Economics from SPbSU, and completed a postdoctoral program at Haas Business School, UC Berkeley. he was taught at business schools in France, Finland, and Denmark. his research focuses on strategic management and network organizations. he is co-founder and chief editor of the Russian Management Journal and serves on the EFMD Board of Trustees, EPAS Accreditation Committee, and several Boards for international and Russian business schools and companies.

    Rakesh Khurana is the Marvin Bower Professor of Leadership Development at the Harvard Business School. he is also the Master of Cabot house at Harvard College. he teaches a doctoral seminar on Management and Markets and The Board of Directors and Corporate Governance in the MBA program. Professor Khurana's research uses a sociological perspective to focus on the processes by which elites and leaders are selected and developed.

    Gilbert Lenssen is President of the European Academy of Business in Society. he was Professor of Management at Leiden University, Professor of International Management at the College of Europe (Bruges/Warsaw) and Visiting Fellow at Templet on College, University of Oxford. he is a member of the Board of the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) and a member of the Editiorial Board of Corporate Governance, The International Journal of Business in Society, The Journal for Strategy and Management and The Journal for Management Development. he is Visiting Professor at Cranfield University, Henley Management College, and ENPC Paris and has been a Life Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (London) since 1995.

    Carlos Losada has a PhD in Management Sciences from Ramon Llull University, an undergraduate degree and a Master's in Business Administration from ESADE, a degree in Law from the University of Barcelona, and a diploma from the JFK School of Government (Harvard University). In 1986, he began his academic career in the Department of Business Policy at ESADE Business School. he lectured in Executive Functions, Strategy and Organization, which he combined with strategic consulting. In 1997, he joined the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, DC. In 2000, he returned to ESADE as Director General, a position he held until 2010. During this period, he served as a member of various boards of directors and government bodies. he currently combines his academic activities with involvement in various government bodies, among which are the boards of Gas Natural Fenosa, SFL (France) and the European company InnoEnergy

    Josep M. Lozano is currently Full Professor in the Department of Social Sciences at ESADE and Senior Researcher in CSR at the Institute for Social Innovation (ESADE). his academic and professional activity encompasses the fields of Applied Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Values, Leadership and Spirituality. Josep M. Lozano's books to date include The Relational Company (Peter Lang), Governments and Corporate Social Responsibility (Palgrave; also translated into Chinese), and Ethics and Organizations: Understanding Business Ethics as a Learning Process (Kluwer). his personal website is

    Janette Martell (MBA, MSOD, PhD candidate at ESADE). her research interests focus on organizational change centered on social responsibility in universities and business schools. her work has been published in the Journal of the World Universities Forum and in the book Toward Assessing Business Ethics Education, Swanson and Fisher (Ed.). She has worked at Monterrey Tec in Mexico for 16 years, last post as General Director of a campus of the Tec System. She has been a Lecturer in Leadership and human Development and Social Commitment at the Monterrey Tec.

    Mette Morsing PhD is a Professor at Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and Director of CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (cbsCSR) and was recently appointed as co-chair of CBS Sustainability Initiative. She has authored or edited more than twenty books and published extensively in international journals on management, communication, organizational identity and corporate social responsibility. She has also researched at New York University, Stanford University and Ilisimatusarfik Greenland University and is a member of the LEGO Foundation Board, the National Ministerial Council for Corporate Responsibility and Board member of the European Academy of Business in Society.

    Daniel Penrice is a Research Associate at Harvard Business Schools. he has more than 10 years of experience as a writer and editor for consulting firms including Accenture, Arthur D. Little, the Boston Consulting Group, and PRTM as well as the Winthrop Group. he has published articles in the Harvard Business Review and several Harvard Business School publications. Recently he collaborated with Professor Rakesh Khurana on From Higher Aims to Hired Hands (Princeton University Press, 2007), a sociological history of the American business school.

    Lluis Pugès graduated in Philosophy from the University of Barcelona and in Economics from the University of Leuven (Belgium) and received his doctorate in Social and Moral Sciences from the University of Rome. He served as Dean at ESADE, where he was also Director General and the advocate of numerous academic and economic initiatives.

    Bernard Ramanantsoa has been the Dean of HEC Paris since 1995 and was Chairman of the CEMS Alliance from 2007 until 2010. He is a specialist on strategy and corporate culture in the business place and himself advocate of an open-minded approach and a multi-cultural scope in the corporate world. He joined the HEC faculty in 1979 as Professor of Business Strategy.

    Nigel Roome is Professor of Governance, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development at Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School and Academic Director of the International MBA program. Nigel has worked on curriculum development and reform for over 20 years. He has held professorships in Canada, Netherlands and Belgium and is currently Academic Chair of EABIS.

    Juliet Roper is Professor of Management Communication and Associate Dean, sustainability, at the University of Waikato Management School, New Zealand. She is also President of the Asia Pacific Academy of Business in Society (APABIS).

    Salskov-Iversen, PhD, is Vice-President for International Relations at Copenhagen Business School, where she is also an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Inter cultural Communication and Management. Her research is located at the interface between (public) management, organizational studies and international political economy.

    Judith Samuelson is Executive Director of the Aspen Institute of Business and Society Program, which is dedicated to developing leaders for a sustainable global society. Among its signature programs are Beyond Grey Pinstripes – a global survey of MBA education – and the Corporate Values Strategy Group – a forum to curb capital market short-termism.

    Alfons Sauquet Rovira is Dean of the ESADE Business School, where previously he was Vice-Dean of Research and Director of the Undergraduate Programs. He is the principal investigator of the research group on learning and knowledge in organizations (GRACO). His field of expertise is organizational learning and organizational development.

    Kulwant Singh PhD is Deputy Dean and Professor of Strategy and Policy at the NUS Business School, Singapore. His research and teaching address firm strategy and competition in rapidly changing environments, with a particular focus on Asia. his research has been published in leading strategy journals, and he has co-authored three books on strategy in Asia.

    Barbara Sporn is Vice-Rector for Research, International Affairs and External Relations and Professor of University Management at WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business). Among others, she has also served as Acting Assistant Professor at Stanford University. She is a known expert in the field of globalization of higher education.

    Robert Strand is a PhD Fellow at the Copenhagen Business School Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility in affiliation with PwC Denmark. Robert received his MBA from the University of Minnesota and was the inaugural Net Impact Fellow to Europe in 2009–10. his research focuses on leadership and corporate social responsibility.

    Valérie Swaen is Professor at the Louvain School of Management (université catholique de Louvain) and at the IESEG School of Management. She is an active member of the Center of Excellence on Consumers and Marketing Strategy and the head of the Louvain CSR Network at the Louvain School of Management. her research interests include consumer behavior, CSR implementation and CSR communication.

    Guido Tabellini is Professor of Economics at università Bocconi and Rector, since November 2008. he taught at Stanford University and UCLA. he has been President of the European Economic Association. The main focus of his research is on how political and policymaking institutions influence policy formation and economic performance.

    Barış Tan is the Dean of College of Administrative Sciences and Professor of Operations Management at Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey. his research interests are on design, control and improvement of production systems and supply chain management. Professor Tan serves on the EFMD Board of Trustees, CEMS Strategic Board, and Academic Advisory Board of Business Council for Sustainable Development Turkey.

    Marc Vilanova is a Lecturer and Researcher at the Institute for Social Innovation at ESADE Business School. he specializes in the exploration of the relationship between competitiveness and sustainability, with published research on responsible competitiveness, sustainable innovation, organizational sustainability and learning for sustainable development. he has a background in economics and more than 10 years' experience as a Consultant.

    Thomaz Wood Jr is Professor at FGV-EAESP, Brazil, where he teaches operations strategy and organizational theory. he also serves a mandate as Associate Dean for Research. Professor Wood has authored or edited 25 books and published over 40 academic papers in the field of organization studies.

    Philippe de Woot is Professor at Louvain Catholic University (196–1995) and a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium. his fields of research and teaching are corporate strategy; change processes in a turbulent environment; and business ethics, corporate raison d'être and societal responsibilities. Considered as a whole, the works of Philippe de Woot have aimed to give back economic activity its ethical and its political dimensions.

    Bernard Yeung PhD is Dean and Stephen Riady Distinguished Professor in Finance and Strategic Management at the NUS Business School, Singapore. Bernard's research covers international corporate finance, corporate strategy, foreign direct investment, and the relationship between institutions, development and firm behavior. he has published more than 100 research articles in top journals across multiple fields.

    George S. Yip wrote this chapter while he was Dean of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. he is now Professor of Management at the China Europe International Business School in Shanghai. he conducts research on innovation, strategic transformation and international business. his books include Total Global Strategy (2nd edn, Prentice hall, 2002) and Managing Global Customers (Oxford University Press, 1992).

    About CEMS

    Founded in 1988, CEMS is a strategic global alliance of leading business schools and universities from 26 countries and 4 continents, working in close collaboration with over 70 multinational companies and NGOs. Together they deliver the CEMS Master's in International Management (CEMS MIM), offering a unique blend of top-level education and business experience.

    Consistently ranked by the Financial Times as one of the top pre-experience Master's in Management programs in the world, the CEMS MIM is the most international and culturally diverse MSc on the marketplace. It is awarded to multilingual, multicultural postgraduate students seeking a career in international management.

    With a current cohort of 900 students of over 60 different nationalities and a global network of over 6000 alumni working in 70 different countries, CEMS has grown from European roots to become a truly global alliance of schools and companies integrally involved in the definition and teaching of the curriculum, as well as the implementation of a series of joint research projects.

    The aim of the CEMS alliance is to equip students and graduates of the program with the skills and knowledge required to become responsible business leaders and global citizens.


    BernardRamanantsoa, CEMS and HEC, France

    Thinking about education is always particularly challenging because it is so interconnected with who we are and who we want to be as human beings. In the end our memories from our days as students are contradictory: on the one hand, the world was waiting for us, it belonged to us; but on the other hand, we were constrained by rules which, at the time, seemed unshakable. That is precisely why we wanted to present this collection of reflections on the past, present and future of business schools: to discuss different voices on how business schools can and should contribute to a better and more sustainable society.

    Business schools have been challenged with reports of all kinds of wrongdoings: of conducting research without links to the ‘real world’, of being obsessed with rankings, of being incapable of developing cross-disciplinary learning, or preferring analytical competencies to the detriment of managerial aptitude … Not all these criticisms are accurate, but certainly there is something to be said about the need for business schools to address more fundamental questions, such as the sustainability of the economic model and the roles and responsibilities that businesses should have.

    As we see in this book, there are many business schools, as well as other relevant business actors, who have been reflecting on their responsibilities, vision and mission – not only in terms of the global crisis, but also as a more in-depth reflection of what type of society is needed for a sustainable world and the role business schools could play in achieving that goal. Some of these schools insist, for example, on teaching students that a long-term perspective is not merely a succession of short-term decisions. This means giving students the capacity to face new challenges that have not yet been identified, which forces schools to rethink the dialectical link that binds them to the economic world. In this regard, every day more business schools generate alternative ideas and models, rather than adhering to a single model. Thus, as the authors of this book point out, business schools aim to contribute to the emergence of a pluralistic vision, embracing contradictions and paradoxes as fundamental tools for creativity and innovation, and understanding that businesses are not only not the centre of the universe, but are also only a small and interdependent part of it.

    A little over two years ago, the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) received the proposal to write a book on the challenges facing business schools, particularly after the economic crisis that has shaken the world and has led us to question some of the central ideas, institutions and systems that confirm who we are as a society. This idea was quickly and enthusiastically accepted within CEMS, and a number of our member schools quickly proposed to contribute a chapter, as it fits very well with our culture and our mission. However, as we wanted the book to be representative of different voices, we decided to open up the process to other scholars, schools and organizations.

    CEMS is an association of management schools, originally European but currently international, that aims to reflect precisely on the central aspects of business school education: future challenges, the teaching curricula, or the pedagogy of management education. In this regard at CEMS, we approach these issues as teachers as well as researchers, with an ultimate goal: to constantly question what we teach and how this contributes to creating the sort of future business executives society needs. Thus, the mission is not reduced to reproducing knowledge, but is largely focused on creating new knowledge. This is especially vital in the field of business education which is characterized by the constant, rapid evolution of knowledge. With this book, we want to commit to paper this permanent reflection process around the challenges for business education.

    Thus, this book is above all the result of a collective work that through the collection of different voices allows us to construct our own voice around the challenges facing business education. We present different points of view rather than a doctrine which would have been, by definition, monolithic. In this regard, not only we do not want to shy away from debate and contradiction, we also want to embrace them as central tools for advancement. The editors of this book, Mette Morsing and Alfons Sauquet Rovira, have worked very hard not only to keep the discussion alive, and give ear to the different voices, but also to find and render the links between the different ideas, thus allowing them to propose some common themes, challenges and visions for the future. I would like to thank them for their devotion to the project and for their hard work.

    Personally, I hope that after reading this book, you will be left with at least two central ideas: first, that there are a number of very interesting voices exploring and questioning business education from within business schools, with no issue too controversial to discuss; second, that there are clear and concrete proposals for the future of business education and business schools, alive with creativity and innovation, enthusiastic motivation and a sincere wish to contribute to a better and more sustainable world.

    BernardRamanantsoa, Dean of HEC Paris, CEMS Chairman, 2007–2010

    Prologue: Business Schools as Usual?

    MetteMorsing and Alfons SauquetRovira, CBS and ESADE

    Business schools are one of the most influential institutions in contemporary society, and have a particular role to play in setting high ethical standards for trust and fairness. They influence the way in which most socio-economic activities are conducted, inasmuch as they contribute to shaping and transforming business decisions, and how businesses develop their identities to face the challenges presented by globalization. Business school norms and values can help to provide a standard and professional grounding for thousands and thousands of young people educated to lead and form businesses tomorrow. how business schools in practice integrate values into research, education and outreach programs influences the way in which socio-economic activity is conducted over generations. Like other education institutions, business schools have a responsibility. however, recently, their handling of this responsibility has been questioned and challenged.

    Strong critique has been raised from outside and inside business schools. It has been suggested that business schools might do more harm than good (Ghoshal 2005; Antunes and Thomas 2007), and that they neglect the human dimension of business and their responsibility to society (Navarro 2008). Business schools have been accused of causing increasing distrust in business because they develop a narrow shareholder thinking as the underlying value permeating education, while they neglect other aspects of importance to business such as collaborative skills, intercultural abilities, trust and social responsibility (Mintzberg 2004; Blasco 2009). Businesses themselves have even complained about narcissistic, interculturally and socially inept business school graduates (Feldman 2005; Blasco 2009) as they have indicated how business schools have forgotten to help students develop their ‘moral muscles’ (Salbu 2002, cited in Starkey and Tempest 2004: 1625). While many business schools have developed courses on ethics and corporate social responsibility and some have introduced voluntary oaths of honor (e.g. Thunderbird and Harvard Business School) and the annual Responsibility Day for all first semester undergraduate students (e.g. CBS) as a reply to the critique after Enron, Andersen and the subsequent financial crisis, such efforts have been critiqued for being decoupled and not integrated into the mainstream ‘business school as usual’ and for simply enforcing a ‘slavish commitment to narrow business values’ (Starkey and Tempest 2006: 1522). The Harvard Business School MBA students' ‘MBA oath’ promises to pay equal attention to ‘shareholders, co-workers, customers and the society in which we operate’, with a final goal of ‘sustainable prosperity’. This action has been criticized for being ‘simply an effort by students to shield themselves from the populist rage at the role of MBAs played in the current financial crisis and that the ethics push will fade once the economy stabilizes’ (Business Week, 11 June 2009). Nevertheless, the MBA oath may possibly be one more of much larger changes that are about to surface in transforming business school identities and values. For instance, it seems to have inspired other grassroots and student-led initiatives that have developed in different places around the world with one common purpose: all of them pressure business schools to rethink and integrate issues of ethics, corporate social responsibility (hereinafter CSR) and sustainability into the curriculum by way of placing these issues at the center of business school policy and strategy.

    A group of business school deans and rectors decided to make a strong and collective voice to address the questioning and challenging of business school legitimacy. They wanted to emphasize that management education is inherently a normative endeavor in which assumptions about right and wrong ways of managing people, profits and businesses underpin the curriculum. They wanted to draw attention to the fact that good management virtues are also developed in informal ways – in what has been referred to as the hidden curriculum (Blasco 2010) – in business school settings influencing student beliefs and behavior. They wanted to emphasize in the public debate that management decisions have to do with interactions of people and social institutions with a respect and understanding for context. And that such understandings and skills build on taking ‘the human factor’ seriously among business schools.

    This group of business school deans has taken the challenge very seriously. Important ideas and activities stemming from their work and thinking are presented to you in this book. here, they express their thinking about business school contributions to society, and share some of their experiences and experiments, while also revealing the problems and challenges with systematically promoting and embedding social virtues of trust, fairness and responsibility into their business school identities. At that meeting in Cologna in December 2009, the deans decided to make their voices heard collectively in the public debate on business school legitimacy with the aim of stimulating debate on the approaches and challenges of that legitimacy. The general acknowledgment of the legitimacy crisis of business schools and the public interest in debating the issue has so far been led by US scholars and practitioners. While the latter may have very good reasons to engage, the non-US business school deans decided to contribute to the debate in a collective and comprehensive way. They agreed that business schools are globally faced with a legitimacy crisis, but they also agreed that it is a crisis that has different characteristics, challenges and solutions at local and regional level. For example, the Asian, Latin American and European geo-political and socio-economic contexts provide other points of departure for business schools than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts – the fact that the MBA program has been less central to the development of business schools operating within Asian universities, the fact that some business schools in Europe receive considerable support from state and public institutions, or less institutionalized frameworks of business education in some other regions like Latin America, offer the possibility of adding to the discussion a different perspective that at first sight stems from a more classical university ethos.

    However, this book does not intend to serve as a comparison between Anglo-Saxon and non Anglo-Saxon models, or any other business school models. Rather, it serves to provide a global voice and insight to the experiences, approaches and perspectives of business schools' legitimacy as expressed by the deans and rectors' own voices. We also want to emphasize that none of the contributions in this book claim to represent ‘best case’ practices. Rather, authors agree that such ‘best case’ practice can only be unfolded and assessed in its local context. There is no one recipe for how to achieve business school legitimacy. We think this book provides a collection of thought-pieces in which how to stimulate business school self-reflection, learning and engagement with society is a permeating theme.

    Business Schools: What Virtues?

    Economic thinking has assumed that generating shareholder value is the main goal of economic activity, and this has dominated business school values in recent years and thus heavily influenced business school education. The theories and methods taught in business schools are often seen as almost hands-on instruments to enhance business growth and reputation, and in substantive ways shareholder thinking has served as the value furnishing business schools with arguments stimulating knowledge production. Often, those values underpinning theories and methods are not surfaced and debated. But they inform the moral and political choices graduates make, as they become leaders of corporations.

    The debate around the role and values of business schools has taken many turns. It has existed as long as these organizations have been perceived as powerful and influential social actors, and it has been raised when business schools have been deemed as not complying with the challenges to provide sound education. In that regard, the current economic crisis has not generated the debate, but accentuated a concern and stimulated a renewed global discussion on the issue. The criticism has been that business schools have pushed mainstream business thinking rather than foster critical and diverse thinking, narrowing the focus of management theory and fuelling practices overly concerned with short-term results. In a seminal paper, Professor Sumantra Ghoshal provocatively argued that ‘bad management theories are destroying good management practices’ (2005: 75). With reference to John Maynard Keynes, Ghoshal emphasized the importance of ideologies for business and society and points at their often implicit nature:

    the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is run by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence are usually the slaves of some defunct economist … It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil. (Keynes 1953: 306, cited in Ghoshal 2005: 75)

    Ultimately, Ghoshal's arguments form an idealism that certainly opens up the possibility for an in-depth discussion, and the fact that there are many references to Ghoshal's paper throughout this book is a good indicator of its influence for stimulating debate. Ghoshal argues that prevalent theories in business schools may be uncritically disseminated. he states that business schools systematically teach students that managers cannot be trusted to do what shareholders expect of them, and therefore managers' incentives and interests must be controlled to be aligned with those of shareholders. According to Ghoshal, this distrust has led to a transaction cost economics that promotes the need for tight monitoring and the control of people to prevent ‘opportunistic behavior’. One of the main explanations for managerial behavior is business school education, where ‘thousands – indeed, hundreds of thousands – of executives who attend business courses have learned the same lessons, although the actual theories were not presented to them quite so directly’ (Ghoshal 2005: 75). In particular, Ghoshal finds a lack of social virtues, that seem to have been decoupled from business school logics which he critiques for having reduced managerial work to ‘a kind of physics’ where economic, social and psychological laws inevitably shape people's actions' (2005: 77).

    Business schools have, in various ways, replied to the criticism of narrow shareholder thinking, tecnification or neglect of the human factor and a lack of relevant knowledge generation. This is a serious critique for the business school as an institution that acknowledges its role for contributing to social virtues such as trust, fairness, responsibility and accountability. The critique does not indicate that business schools intentionally teach their students to be socially irresponsible. The question is rather that whatever is done at business schools has a relevant impact on the professional behavior of graduates.

    Business Schools as Reflective Learning Environments

    It has been suggested that students should be exposed to ethically challenging situations in school, otherwise they will be unprepared for and likely to fail in providing leadership for decision-making in corporations (Evans and Marcal 2005). Perhaps we should suggest the same training to scholars who teach and research at business schools? Perhaps scholars should meet ‘real’ business challenges and make ‘real’ business decisions with ethical implications before we allow them to teach students? Recently, we have seen more journals dedicating special issues to the question of business schools' contribution to society, for example Academy of Management Learning and Education (2009, issue 8) and Journal of Corporate Citizenship on ‘Designing Management Education’ (2011, issue 39). These special issues focus on bringing not only academic reflection and discussion but also examples from the classroom.

    Regardless of the actual role business schools play – or think they play – in causing the economic crisis, they are perceived by the general public as the embodiment of managerial thinking and economic development in contemporary society, and thus directly involved in any transformations these undergo. With that in mind, business schools need to respond to the lack of trust and growing scepticism. On a positive note, this provides a perfect opportunity to carry out a self-reflective exercise among business schools.

    Many have already begun a reflective process, as can be seen by the increase in the number of initiatives, codes of conduct and declarations that have been developed to show that they are listening to the critiques, and that they take seriously their responsibilities towards producing a better society. To this end, deans, rectors and professors seem to acknowledge the need for a reflective and systematic evaluation of business schools' curricula, but more specifically for a more profound debate on the values on which theories and thinking behind business school activities are constructed. In this respect, the internationalization process via accreditation systems is a clear step in that direction.

    In this volume, we will not bring examples from the classroom in any detail. Rather, we take the rare opportunity of exploring the views of the deans of some of the most important business schools from around the world and around three dimensions: (1) the legitimacy of business schools from a historical perspective; (2) the future of business schools in terms of different visions; and (3) the role of business schools in shaping and transforming ethical conduct.

    The Structure of the Book

    In this volume, we explore how business schools contribute to sustaining the distinctiveness of themselves as legitimate business schools in global society and how they work to infuse a ‘corporate logic’ that significantly addresses concerns about current economic models and theories. While the individual contributions will overlap and blend the themes of the three parts, we uphold them as thematic directions, as each contribution will take an overall point of departure in one of the three themes. Each part of the volume consists of several contributions. The authors of these contributions are deans, rectors and distinguished scholars at business schools, and in some instances to provide additional views of key stakeholders of business schools, we also invited a number of relevant expert institutions with a special interest in and knowledge about business school development to assist the role of business in society. Contributing deans, rectors, professors and business school experts have contributed because their business schools in various ways have addressed, explicitly or implicitly, the new challenges for business schools in the wake of the financial crisis. In doing so, they are already beginning to shape the contours of how to address this new problematic in practice. The invitation to contribute to this volume prompted these authors to express their views of business schools' responsibilities to society in an explicit, systematic and empirically grounded manner. Each contribution, therefore, illustrates a particular perspective on business schools' responsibilities to society, taking its point of departure in a particular business school context and framing this in a broader global approach, reflecting critical future challenges for business schools' theorizing, economic models and contributions to society.

    To provide insightful reflection as well as an overall coherence, each contributor was asked to discuss a specific and different issue and simultaneously analyze two common issues: (1) the current legitimacy crisis of business schools; and (2) the future vision and challenge of the future of business schools. Furthermore, to provide some additional and different perspectives of organizations or individuals directly involved with business schools, we have also asked for a contribution from a student perspective, some business leaders, and prominent scholars within the business school debate. This way, the book aims to address gaps in knowledge by scanning the landscape of business schools from several regional and organizational perspectives, to debate how deans and rectors push and steer the frontiers of business school identity in new directions in collaboration with key stakeholders in different contextual settings. The contributing business schools are all currently engaged in developing new strategies and policies towards developing ‘globally responsible citizens’ and, as such, the book will explore cutting-edge developments within the business school world.

    Part 1 takes its point of departure from the historical raison d'être of the business school as an institution that has developed into a powerful global institution influencing economic, institutional and cultural development. The philosophical underpinnings of business schools are outlined and contextualized. This first part of the book provides a general overview of the development globally while it also contributes more focused chapters from different regions: Europe, the USA, Latin America, Russia and Asia. Contributions discuss how the phenomenon of business schools has developed regionally, and how it has contributed to setting a new global agenda for business, and how business schools – in a variety of ways – have produced those economic theories which they themselves teach as the mainstream business school philosophy, based on shareholder thinking and criteria of success measured by what we may here refer to as ‘old business school’ thinking.

    Part 2 – Towards a new legitimacy for business schools in global society – addresses how business schools are one of the most influential industry sectors today in educating managers and setting the agenda for global business logic and the development of international markets. Yet, in this process, business schools increasingly depend on market economic dynamics turning them into businesses driven by market logics rather than universities characterized by independent thinking and research. This part discusses how the ‘marketization’ of both privately and publicly funded business schools influences the legitimacy of business schools, and how business schools respond as a new economic reality has created mistrust in them, and they experience a need to demonstrate themselves as responsible institutions. One important element is how business schools approach, select and interact with stakeholders in society, i.e. policies and strategies of business schools' stakeholder management to achieve trust and confidence from the general public.

    Part 3 – Business schools' role in shaping and transforming ethical business conduct – addresses the impact of business schools on corporations in terms of the current economic logics, norms and values driving theorizing and educational programs and their influence on organizations and their managers. Whereas Part 1 focuses on the trust of business schools, Part 2 focuses on how business schools may serve to create trust in business. Contributions in this part focus explicitly on how business schools directly influence leadership in corporations and how concrete approaches to program and curriculum development, as well as the selection of topics, courses, and pedagogies, set the norms and directions for future managerial decisions, rhetoric and actions. Contributions in this part discuss and exemplify how business schools may develop alternative ways of educating tomorrow's leaders as they entrust students with critical and complex ways of approaching ethical dilemmas for business in a globalized world, taking inspiration from, for example, the social and human sciences.

    For us, it has been a pleasure to serve as editors of this book. We hope that readers will appreciate and learn as much as we have from reading and discussing this unique collection of important voices on business schools' contribution to society.


    By definition, an edited book is the fruit of the contributors. We sincerely thank those deans, rectors and professors who were dedicated enough to find the time to contribute with a book chapter. They contributed in good faith, most times going beyond their academic comfort zone and accepting the challenge to go public on their reflections. We also sincerely want to thank all of our author experts who have generously spent their time providing thoughtful reflections on the challenges of business schools in contemporary society, ensuring that the book has also delivered a glimpse from the world outside business schools.

    No edited volume is simply the result of the editors' and contributors' work. This volume is not an exception. A number of people have been extremely helpful at different stages of the process. We want to thank CEMS Chairman and HEC Director General, Bernard Ramanantsoa, for providing strong support, CBS Vice-President Dorte Salskov-Iversen for taking up the challenge, and CEMS Director General François Collin for his involvement and help in all sorts of matters.

    Finally, we want to give special recognition to Marc Vilanova. Marc has served as our steady, networking, hard-working and reliable editorial assistant throughout the development of this book. his social skills, academic skills, ever-presence and ability to connect and collect material and people to ensure consistency cannot be over-stated. If there is ever a role of being editor to the editors, you fulfilled it beyond expectations – our most sincere gratitude to you.

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  • Epilogue

    Alfons SauquetRovira, MetteMorsing and MarcVilanova, ESADE and Copenhagen Business School

    In this final chapter of the book, we want to recap some of the ideas and suggestions that have been advanced in the preceding pages. To do that, we will make two points visible and illustrate them with references to the previous contributions. Furthermore, in this epilogue we will recall the rationale of the book, advance a few reflections on the content and make a last point on the challenges and questions remaining.

    The Origin: Providing a Platform for Debate

    This book, as was explained in the Prologue, is the result of a spark that ignited a small community of academic administrators who felt that for some time business education had been brought to a sort of congressional hearing in which questions about their doings and wrongdoings were implicitly pointing towards their legitimacy.

    Yet legitimacy is not a new issue. The relationship between legitimacy and business school education is a long and complex one. It resembles, for better or worse, that of a relationship that grows, matures and probably endures a crisis every now and then.

    Indeed, there have been various attempts to make management education a distinctive, regulated professional realm in the USA, with the aim of allowing it to be as comparable and legitimate as other professions are. The founding of AACSB in the early decades of the twentieth century and the Gordon-Howell and other reports in the 1950s are distinct testimonies to this interest in making management education a legitimate activity linked to a profession. More recently, we have witnessed initiatives that pointed in a similar direction. Under the auspices of the UN, the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) were produced to promote a collective commitment to academic institutions using basic assumptions. Also, at the other end of the spectrum, we have seen the proliferation of public discretionary oaths such as the MBA oath promoted by some Harvard Business School students. Both are testimony to the quest for a more legitimate realm.

    In addition to that evolution, during the last decade, two phenomena have added pressure to the issue and brought business education more into the public limelight.

    First, the financial crisis was eventually tied to real state bubbles in some countries such as Ireland, Spain and to a lesser extent the USA and the UK. Indeed, this unexpected crisis caught the public and the majority of experts by surprise, and its consequences have been significant, nearly knocking down some developed economies. As attribution theory would have rightly foreseen, the magnitude of the blow prompted a public search for those responsible for such effects and for sorting out the causes. In that public search, the immediate attention turned towards the talent providers (e.g. business schools), management incentives (e.g. bonuses) and institutional behavior (e.g. Fed and credit providers). But regardless of the combination of responsibilities assigned to actors and systems, the crisis also brought in a pervasive feeling that there might have been values that had been framing the individual behaviors, so that in the search for individual satisfaction, excessive risk taking and a lack of common sense had been dominant. If this was the case, the question became: what had been the role of the institutions in charge of educating those actors? In other words, the debate turned to analyzing to what extent business schools were to be held accountable, and whether careerism had been overstressed among graduates.

    The second phenomenon was a movement that, while it was incubated during the 1990s, was to see its blossoming during the first decade of the twenty-first century as it rode the waves of various corporate scandals of historical magnitude such as Enron, Arthur Anderson or Vivendi. This movement, mostly from the academic community, called for more business accountability, specifically to increase the number of stakeholders that should be taken into account in the private sector. In other words, the movement was proposing that in addition to a monetary payback to the share tenants, generating stakeholder value needed to be included in the measure of success of business. The movement was developed and shaped under different names such as corporate social responsibility; business ethics; sustainability; or corporate citizenship among others, but all these terms shared one common goal: attention was being drawn to how to instil in companies, in management education and in business practices, different modes that would foster a reflection of the long-term consequences of any business decision. As a result, the founding of institutions such as EABIS, the Aspen Institute, APABIS, the UN Global Compact or the above-mentioned UN PRME tried to construct relevant voices and promote debate on the issue of business accountability and stakeholder value. The underlying assumption apparently was that a call for action should be sustained and made consistent to influence both management education and corporate behavior.

    All in all, as we have seen in different chapters in Part I of the book, that the question of the role of business schools and their contribution to society filled the tabloids, and the media immediately seized on the opportunity to make quick implicit judgments and express underpinning opinions about how much business schools had contributed with their knowledge – or the lack thereof – to encouraging risk-taking behaviors beyond any sensible assessments (or irresponsible behaviors), to the extent that unrestrained financial misbehaving took place. And in addition to what extent the kind of education provided by business schools was so technocratic and void of value that graduates could not resist the contextual pressure and, once they were placed at a crossroads, made decisions that were against common sense.

    This book, as we explained in the Prologue, was born out of the hope of providing a platform from which to voice the standpoint of some business schools. Thus, the purpose of the book was not to provide the best possible answer to the financial crisis from an academic point of view. That is, it was never meant to be a collection of sound assessments about what went wrong, or what should have been done differently. It was not supposed to be a problem-solving toolkit either. Nor was it meant to be a vindication of business schools, taken from a systematic and aggregated perspective. Rather, it has been developed as an opportunity to voice different individual perspectives on the broad question of what business schools contribute to society at large. In this regard, the goal was not to reply directly to any of these questions, but to provide a platform for debate and, more importantly, to show that there is also a significant degree of reflection and debate coming from within the business school community, proposing in many cases drastic changes and foreseeing significant challenges.

    The distinctiveness of this book project departs from the assumption that, whatever answers the different authors have provided, it was going to be a response that was both academic and practical as business school leaders face both challenges. At the outset, it was clear that it was not going to represent a narrow academic disciplinary focus such as the sociology of education of philosophical pedagogy. Rather, the mandate of each of the contributing authors was to voice some of the most intimate reflections and debates that were taking part at each of their institutions. After all, most of the authors that have contributed to this book hold a position of responsibility in organizations that are important players in the business education debate. Thus, one could argue whether the contributing authors have been well chosen, whether the organizations they represent have shown leadership or the lack thereof, or even if they did so with broad or narrow interests. One could also ask whether they have the discretionary power to effect change or not, or if they have the expertise to discuss some of the issues contained in each chapter. Regardless of all this, one cannot argue that every contributing author has been at the forefront of academic institutions or influential organizations, or that they have made an effort to reflect on the role of their individual institutions in regard to the general mandate of the editors.

    Thus, as editors, we have preferred to give ample room to authors to frame their answers in light of their priorities and context. True, we provided some indications of what we understood could be most relevant in each particular case but we were also quite open in considering the validity of individual approaches. Our understanding as editors is that it was important to allow different authors to construct their own voice as they saw fit, and that the manner in which the voice was presented could be just as important as the voice itself. In this regard, we don't see the difference in approaches, languages and structure of the different chapters as a weakness, but rather as a strength. Finally, we would hope that the reader goes through it as if he or she were watching a great and lively debate among leaders and scholars of business education.

    Seizing the Opportunity: The Content

    We understand the content of the book as having three potential outcomes. First, each contribution has given authors a unique opportunity to reflect on their institutional task and, very succinctly put, to ask themselves some central questions, such as a simple What for? These questions revolve not only around the institution each of them represents, but also indirectly focus on their own leadership. Second, we understand that their work may have an effect beyond their own business schools. Dialogue and debate are sources of transformation, and we expect that some of the suggestions advanced here may generate a sort of ripple effect, spurring on new ideas in other business schools. In this regard, we expect this book to become a bank of ideas where ideas and experiences are accumulated and may serve to stimulate further debate, thinking and action. Also, the book may have a similar effect – for the lack of a better metaphor – that support groups have in that different schools will see their own internal debates and policies reflected in some of its proposals, and will therefore feel that they are going in the right direction, or at the very least that they are not alone in the initiatives undertaken. Third, the book is making a contribution to the development of a collective understanding of the role of business schools by way of making more transparent the thoughts of some central institutions and their leaders.

    Regarding its specific content we feel this clearly speaks for itself. Yet when looking at the different proposals presented throughout the book, two central ideas come to mind that are worth underscoring. First, business school education and research is not flat. Second, when business schools are asked about a way to solve knowledge production dilemmas or education challenges, they provide distinctive narratives and ideas.

    Business School Education and Research is Not Flat

    One of the first conclusions of the book is that the world of business education is far from flat. Despite the growing institutionalization of the field, for instance expressed by way of the task and impact that global accrediting institutions have (such as the AACSB, the EFMD, etc.), or the appearance of more global service providers (GMAC, etc.), the role of business schools strongly differs as their activities develop in different contexts.

    Khurana (Chapter 1) warns against an excess of homogenization that does not take into consideration the specifics of the US context. Indeed, the history of business education in the USA is specific and can be written as a long quest for a stable and legitimate base that has resulted in a much institutionalized landscape in which actors have a stable role. Not in vain, the above-mentioned GMAC and AACSB, one in the provision of services and the other in the processes of accreditation, have become something of a reference point and both are originally American organizations that have made an effort to globalize and, in doing so, have contributed to giving a specific shape to the field of business education.

    We see this difference clearly when we see look at some of the chapters as is the case, for instance, in Turkey (Tan, Chapter 5) and in Brazil (Fleury and Wood, Chapter 2). In these different chapters, their contributions bring us a vivid and different picture. Unlike the case of US business schools, business education is seen as a factor associated with country development, thus, rather than seeking legitimacy, business schools in such emerging – rather than emerged – economies seem to be clearly enjoying the privileges attached to institutions that provide capacity development; therefore these institutions do not need to seek any further justification. On the contrary, it is widely acknowledged that country elites are trained in such business schools and will be called on to set future strategic frameworks. In that context, the priority is assuring the local audience or stakeholders that the school enjoys an internally solid reputation base which is a proxy of a country gaining international stature. Thus, their priorities are more about becoming a member of a community and to do this there are issues that have to be addressed, such as participating in international discussions, becoming accredited, and the like. In this context, it is less of a surprise that although echoes of the financial crisis can be felt, these are in any case subordinate to the central goal of gaining international reputation externally and capacity building, the latter being a central issue for those economies facing the challenges of modernization and rapid growth. Therefore, it is hardly necessary to justify the public service that business schools provide.

    The case of the NUS Business School in Singapore underscores this issue, whereby Yeung and Singh (Chapter 3) leave us in no doubt as to the critical role that business schools have played in recent years and make an even clearer point about their role in the near future. Interestingly, in their view, past, present and future are addressed with a clear understanding of the kind of challenges that derive both from an external context (collaboration being just a newborn concept among Asian business schools) and from an internal context in its reference to governance dilemmas.

    The testimonies of St Petersburg University (Katkalo, Chapter 4) and the Warsaw School of Economics (Budnikowski, Chapter 15) also stress contextual factors in the overall meaning of the task of the business school. And, in addition to the other cases, they point to a special facet of the role of business schools. In both cases, business schools seem to have a double role. First, it is clear that they are agents that promote development via capacity development, but also that they play a second role as they themselves become a symbol of a different landscape. They promote and symbolize a transition from one period to another. Their role is more than brute capacity development; what is being asked of them is that they become institutions that can navigate the waters of institutional transformation in periods in which both change and continuity have to be addressed in countries undergoing transition. It thus seems that in addition to upgrading capabilities and training new leaders, providing guidance and symbolizing change are some of the challenges they are facing.

    Whereas the above-mentioned cases can avoid excessive justification because of their contexts, Tabellini (Chapter 14) argues that their task can be decoupled from specific contexts and proposes that there is little need for justification of the work of business schools once the appropriate level of analysis has been undertaken. His argument is specifically linked to macro-level institutional development, knowledge production and education to conclude that inasmuch as it is a feature of the scientific method to adequately address the quest for valid inferences and conclusions, there is an inherent value in training students in it. And, as long as this is properly done by educators, students will acquire the values that support the best possible decision-making practices: values that are also the cornerstone of modern valid institutions.

    That degree of visibility, being more or less of a lighthouse, is a factor also worth considering and clearly perceived in the case of University College Dublin (UCD) Business School in Ireland (Chapter 10). The Irish case brings in yet another variable, that of country size, and it quickly becomes clear that a business school impact can be very large in a small community. In a small context, the financial crisis has names and surnames, affiliations and board servicing. All in all, this chapter clearly shows that the smaller the country, the larger the visibility of the business school, and, therefore, the lesser the distribution of responsibility.

    All these contributions link the role of business school to specific contexts, clearly giving a sense that the institution adapts to serve a specific community by way of linking development and education.

    Yet one case approach claims legitimacy can be decoupled from any particular context. Indeed, Tabellini (Chapter 14) links the contribution of business schools to societal development at large. More specifically, he argues that scholarly advances in the social sciences, particularly in economics, have been a cornerstone of institutional development. In this regard, the argument seems to be that as much as advanced societies have progressed, when provided with political systems that frame their interaction, some of the central institutions that form the central system have strengthened and developed thanks to the activities of business schools. For instance, the scientific method has embedded values such as rigor or criticality, which when appropriately followed transmit these values into institutions, organizations and individuals. This value-embedding process is arguably one of the cornerstones in the institutional development of advanced societies. This cycle, which could be seen as a virtuous process, is linked to that of knowledge creation, and more specifically to research. This is the crucial part of the process and one of the central ways in which business school education and research seems to contribute to institutional development.

    All in all, using these cases, we learn that business schools are much less context-free than we tend to think. As long as it is true that there is a clear push for comparability in business education via rankings, and as long as accreditation processes indirectly level some of the differences, it also seems clear that there is ample room for interpreting the social role of a business school in different national contexts. In each case, we learn how business school development is tied to the country's future, how business schools are aware of such a demand and, in a sense, how they share and bear a responsibility in many respects.

    It could be argued that, in each of the above-mentioned cases, rectors and deans could have minimized their contexts and their relationship to them and in turn engage in a more commoditized discussion about whether business schools are conducting the right research or whether they are training people in the right competencies; yet the stories that these deans, rectors and leaders provide echo all too vividly those of other economies in similar phases of transition.

    A quick look at the USA at the end of the 1950s, the aftermath of World War II in the UK or the end of the closed Spanish economy in 1958, shows that these events had a significant effect on how business education was perceived. In all these cases, business schools were regarded as a strategic source of human capital that had a significant impact on the economy. The paradox is that inasmuch as management science remains quite obstinately a-historical, in the sense that it tends to overlook phases and stages in its own development, business schools seem to be much more context-bound and conscious of their different roles and ambitions in their respective contexts.

    Distinctive Narratives

    And yet the second point is that business schools cannot measure their contribution merely in light of how much they support their geographical environment. They are professionally bound and they have to respond to basic challenges. Two areas stand out here: knowledge production and knowledge dissemination by way of education. In both cases, there are testimonies of business schools ‘looking inward’ to find a distinct way to address both issues. In the case of knowledge production, it is a matter of acknowledging the fact that research does not just serve academic interests in the case of education, rather it is a complex process that goes well beyond knowledge transmission and values are embedded in the process as well.

    There are two different routes to address research. Whereas Kaptein and Yip (Chapter 12) would bet on syncretism, where they look for a balanced combination of research methodologies, namely quantitative and qualitative, and offer the Rotterdam School of Management experience to support the case, Barzelay and Estrin (London School of Economics, Chapter 9) advance an original piece that clarifies the process by which, in their proposal, knowledge sticks and makes a difference. Implicit to their argument is that relevant research is the result of consistent effort that requires a number of processes to have an impact. In this regard, none of the different chapters aspire to solve the challenges that are currently under discussion concerning research and management; yet they provide credible approaches as to how the issue of relevance can be tackled. Just recalling the immense workload that served as the basis of Michael Porter's work leaves us with an implicit argument: relevant research is, more often than not, the result of both solid and consistent scholarship combined with those competencies that turn academic results into persuasive arguments. It no doubt remains to be answered whether scholars and institutions are paying appropriate attention to such issues.

    In turn, education is a more worrisome and clear-cut case. Whereas conducting good or bad research can have a more relative and filtered effect on society, business education seems to include a more clear and direct narrative, often raising some concern given that there seem to be similarities between some of the education narratives and some of the problems at the heart of the legitimacy debate. Perhaps that is why management education has been placed at the center of the legitimacy debate around business schools. The argument seems to be that business education fosters values and practices that are not primarily addressing the need to build a better society. Therefore, the logical conclusion seems to be that management education needs to introduce responsibility as a central issue. Here we have a group of contributors that address that focus. The cases of ESADE (Losada, Lozano and Martell, Chapter 17), CBS (Irwin, Salskov-Iversen and Morsing, Chapter 8), St Gallen (Bieger, Chapter 11) and Louvain (Swaen, de Woot and Callatay, Chapter 18) share this common inspiring thread: developing responsible leaders is the central concern of the educational endeavor.

    Differences are relative and more a matter of focus and degree than of substance. For instance, the case of ESADE mainstreams responsibility so much so as to claim that it should become the focal point of the institution, and therefore activities in principle considered autonomous such as research should be subordinate to that end. In turn, St Gallen's contribution takes a systemic approach that links several internal processes to produce a more valid integrated perspective that links curricula development, scholarly activity and student development in an integrated manner. At Louvain, we are witnessing a combination of initiatives designed to permeate a set of specific values throughout the institution. Central activities to business schools such as research, teaching programs, awards, activities and debates all speak for the desire to give visibility to an understanding of business education that goes beyond the provision of technical competence for professional advancement. In other words, the idea seems to be to train managers who are concerned with contributing to a better and more sustainable society.

    With a different emphasis, this set of contributions shares a clear, specific view of business that goes beyond the shareholder approach – one seemingly close to the kind of discourse advanced by institutions such as EABIS and the Aspen Institute, whose open raison d'être is precisely that of streamlining a vision of business education that leapfrogs technocracy.

    The chapter from CBS takes an organizational perspective to stimulate the impact of research on society's challenges. CBS introduces business in society platforms on key strategic issues of societal concern, and professors engaging in these platforms will systematically be asked to reflect their research in outreach and educational programs in reply to global concerns such as social and environmental development. Interestingly, some context permeates the approach as rather than privileging the standalone professor, the idea of platforms where researchers work in interdisciplinary teams to advance knowledge seems to echo the Scandinavian tradition for collaborative learning and methods of cooperation.

    A different approach, explicitly called for, is patent in the case of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (Badelt and Sporn, Chapter 13), as the university seems to focus on a very specific competence, that of entrepreneurship. In this regard, entrepreneurship is approached under the assumption that, as long as competencies are developed in practice and thus to train in entrepreneurship, there is a need to develop an entrepreneurial context. Schumpeter being a prominent Austrian, the reader is left to wonder whether the chapter may still be a supporting addition to the argument of context dependency.

    One major question that remains unanswered is whether these different contributions underestimate the embeddedness of the values in which universities and business schools live and the extent to which these collide or coalesce with their project. Yet it is a remarkable feat that such discourses are present in academic settings as they constitute a considerable degree of complexity.

    Lastly, some chapters have taken on board the hard challenge of addressing finance and education at business schools. As expected, there are no simple solutions here; yet a candid discussion of what can be done better is provided. The underlying argument is that disciplines are path-dependent and that the systemic nature of pressures and solutions is too easily overlooked. It seems apparent that there are problems that, regardless of how much we chew on them, remain more intractable than desired. In this regard, the argument seems to be that particularly difficult and complex systemic problems cannot be solved, but rather need to be managed. Therefore, the issue is not so much about solving structural or systemic problems, as about development of individual judgment, where the capacity to face unexpected moral dilemmas is central. Thus, transmitting and embedding values is central. Education can be perceived in a systemic manner, where individual professional behaviors are also subject to the kind of pressures that seem not just to contain but even to dissolve the sense of individual responsibility of business school graduates, and thus the argument underlines the idea that individual development and individual responsibility are a central part of institutional development and responsibility.

    Limitations, Challenges Ahead and Further Considerations

    Undertaking this reflection around business school legitimacy, the different authors in this book have committed themselves to at least three tasks: first, they have considered the content piece of what they wanted to advance; second, they have decided on the means they wanted to use to persuade their audience; and third, they have developed what we could call a righteousness argument. Consciously or not, they have entered the realm of rhetoric in trying to answer the question and in leaning on various sources for legitimacy.

    In any play, some actors are misrepresented; likewise, in any good research there are flaws, and we have to assume that fact. In our case, it is the stories of companies that are underrepresented. No doubt it was worth listening to some of them, but at the same time this would have meant having fewer views from business schools. Thus, there were some necessary tradeoffs, and we opted for a better representation of business schools and selected organizations. Our goal was to focus on those managing business schools and not so much on the different and strategic stakeholders.

    The second issue worth mentioning is that criticality in a Kantian sense is relatively absent. Noticeably, a piece by Pugés Chapter 6 makes a point about the limits and dangers of being forgetful of values that are idiosyncratic to European institutions, yet the general trend is towards the sort of optimistic narrative where challenges can be overcome by good design and better management.

    Third, it is interesting to think about how business schools see themselves. On the one hand, some of the institutions claiming that they can provide a framework for business education, such as accreditation agencies like EFMD or AACSB – which, let's be honest, one would think of as being naturally relevant for matters concerning legitimacy – are conspicuously absent from the minds of those managing business schools. There is not much better cognitive awareness of Aspen or EABIS, two institutions that have actively set up procedures and standards to influence business education in several ways. Neither are there references to UN PRME, an initiative to which most business schools have given their full support. It would be adventurous to provide a single reason for this forgetful assessment. Yet when there is also no discussion of the role of media, and particularly of business school rankings, it becomes quite interesting to reflect on the role and influence these different tools and initiatives have on business schools as opposed to what they expect. But, more importantly, this lack of influence of these different initiatives begs the question: if not these, then which tools and frameworks influence business school development?

    It is also interesting to realize that there is a partial sense of self-consciousness of business schools as part of complex systems of interactions. Interestingly, it appears that whenever it comes to the point of recalling the positive impact of its task, the business school seems to have a better sense of the systemic forces surrounding it and can provide a better account of the social milieu, the drives and roles relevant to its task. However, when the focus turns towards its own practice (education and research), the descriptions tend to pay much less attention to institutional constraints. And, thus, initiatives are advanced more or less as if the authors were change initiators with the purpose of persuading an audience to start committing to a specific course of action. Because there is no doubt it requires some gigantic effort to turn a university into an entrepreneurial institution or to align all academic activities around a basic idea, or to propose a research approach that discards the razor blade of peer review systems and promotions, authors more likely have been discarding constraints to emphasize directions so they may have been writing more as managers than academics.

    Equally noticeable is that, in the final analysis, graduates are implicitly assumed to be individual rational decision makers and very often judge situations that turn grave as they escalate, but that are difficult to assess at different moments in time. The reader may be surprised, on the one hand, by how little mention is given to well-known management theories (e.g. path dependency, escalating commitment, problem solving) to explain behaviors and how fast the focus is turned to individual values.

    Contributors were selected on the basis of their position rather than on their content knowledge and we are well aware of that fact. They were occupying relevant positions at each of their institutions and that probably created a constraint for each and every one of them. Inasmuch as they were individual authors, they were institutional representatives and they, intentionally or otherwise, could not escape that institutional iron cage. We acknowledge that limitation. In the book, this has sometimes resulted in some degree of over-focusing or overemphasizing their respective institutional realities, and sometimes on perhaps not being as self-critical as they would have hoped. Yet, the very initiative is a clear step and signal on the road towards more accountable leaders and institutions.

    Finally, we would like to give due respect to those who have contributed to the book on a different basis. If puns among rectors and deans are commonplace when discussing faculty, no wonder one would think of rectors and deans as not being a more educated species when it comes to editing their work. And, yet, despite one of the editors appertaining to that special category, ours has been a job more engaging and pleasurable than anyone could have foreseen.

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