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Monday, June 30, 2008

Business schools and research Practically irrelevant? FROM Economist

What is the point of research carried out in business schools?

LIKE other academic institutions, business schools are judged by the quality of the research carried out by their faculties. At the same time they mean to equip their students for the real world, however that is defined. Whether academic research actually produces anything that is useful to the practice of business, or even whether it is its job to do so, are questions that can provoke vigorous arguments on campus.

The debate, which first flared during the 1950s, was reignited in August, when AACSB International, the most widely recognised global accrediting agency for business schools, announced it would consider changing the way it evaluates research. The news followed rather damning criticism in 2002 from Jeffrey Pfeffer, a Stanford professor, and Christina Fong of Washington University, which questioned whether business education in its current guise was sustainable. The most controversial recommendation in AACSB's draft report (which was sent round to administrators for their comment) is that the schools be required to demonstrate the value of their faculties’ research not simply by listing its citations in journals, but by demonstrating the impact it has in the workaday world.

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