A New Source of Legitimacy for Business Schools

15 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2015

See all articles by Bertrand Guillotin

Bertrand Guillotin

Temple University (Fox) - Strategic Mgmt Dept.

Vincent Mangematin

Grenoble Ecole de Management

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Date Written: April 28, 2015


The highly institutionalized field of management education has been in turmoil. Most business schools are experiencing a legitimacy crisis and have been seeking social approval since the epic 2001 Enron debacle and the 2008 Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Many scholars and policymakers have held business school leaders and their alumni responsible for these historic scandals. As a result, the (over)reliance on two main kinds of trust-building mechanisms: accreditations and rankings, as sources of legitimacy, has been insufficient to protect business schools from public distrust. Additionally, this reliance has led to mass-imitation on the international scene and shown its limitations. How can business schools remain legitimate in a global context? Using six business schools in Europe and in the US as case studies, we analyze their search for legitimacy in terms of prestige and reputation-seeking strategies. We show the risks and limitations of these strategies and present authenticity as an alternative source of legitimacy and trust-building. The legitimacy of business schools and the power of authenticity are discussed.

Keywords: legitimacy, business schools, trust-building mechanisms, authenticity

Suggested Citation

Guillotin, Bertrand and Mangematin, Vincent, A New Source of Legitimacy for Business Schools (April 28, 2015). Fox School of Business Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2685409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2685409

Bertrand Guillotin (Contact Author)

Temple University (Fox) - Strategic Mgmt Dept. ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States
2152044201 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.linkedin.com/pub/bertrand-guillotin-mba-dba-abd-status/0/2b5/604

Vincent Mangematin

Grenoble Ecole de Management ( email )

12 Rue Pierre Semard
Grenoble, Cedex 01 38000

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