Reputational challenges for business schools: A contextual perspective

Sabina Siebert, Graeme Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The dominant variance theory approaches to researching business school reputations are based on a positivistic hypothetico-deductive research methodology and do not adequately take into account either the different levels and types of contexts in which business schools operate or the diversity of stakeholder interests. The aim of this paper is to propose a more relevant contextualised framework for analysing the reputation of business schools that takes cognisance of the national business systems, industry/sector, university and relational contexts of the different stakeholders involved in socially constructing and enacting business school reputations. The authors also seek to explore the tensions between these often competing or unaligned agendas of stakeholders in business schools. Design/methodology/approach – This is a conceptual paper that proposes a contextualised framework for analysing the reputation of business schools. It reviews the current state of theory on business schools’ reputations, analyses their weaknesses and potential research gaps, and proposes an alternative model to the dominant universalistic positivism in understanding business school reputations. Findings – The authors conclude that the variance theory underpinning of current research does not take into account sufficiently either the diversity of stakeholder interests or the contexts in which business schools operate. Thus, the authors propose an alternative model to the dominant universalistic positivism in understanding business school reputations. This new model is based on four levels of context: national, industry, university and relational, and acknowledges that different stakeholders might have a dominant voice at each of these levels.
    Originality/value – The authors attempt to fill a gap in the existing literature on business school reputations, and make a contribution to theory of reputation management.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)429 -444
    Number of pages14
    JournalEducation and Training
    Volume55
    Issue number4/5
    Early online date27 Mar 2013
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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