Ranking Business Schools
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Ranking Business Schools

Forming Fields, Identities and Boundaries in International Management Education

9781845425159 Edward Elgar Publishing
Linda Wedlin, Associate Professor, Uppsala University, Sweden
Publication Date: 2006 ISBN: 978 1 84542 515 9 Extent: 224 pp
International comparisons and rankings of universities and business schools have proliferated in recent years. Ranking Business Schools provides a welcome analysis of this development and its implications for the field of management education, theorizing the role of classifications such as rankings in forming and structuring organizational fields.

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Critical Acclaim
Contents
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International comparisons and rankings of universities and business schools have proliferated in recent years. Ranking Business Schools provides a welcome analysis of this development and its implications for the field of management education, theorizing the role of classifications such as rankings in forming and structuring organizational fields.

Focusing on the European experience with rankings and the subsequent response, the book illustrates how business schools use rankings to form identities and positions, and to draw boundaries for the field. By both creating and confirming ‘belonging’ to a business school community and providing distinction within that group, rankings are important for defining an international field of management education organizations, constructing an international business school market, and constitute an arena for debating and establishing the boundaries of this field. Building an extensive theoretical framework for understanding classification mechanisms and field construction, the study draws on theories of cultural and institutional fields, field boundaries and identities as well as on theories of classifications, transnational regulations and audit procedures.

This book will be of great interest to a wide-ranging audience, including practitioners in business schools, management education organizations, and universities; researchers, students and academics interested in the development of management education and the forming of academic disciplines and scientific fields; and those interested in new forms of transnational regulations and governance principles
Critical Acclaim
‘Required reading for anyone involved in this increasingly competitive – and global sector.’
– Long Range Planning

‘In her admirable book, Wedlin entangles what [business school] rankings really are and why they have become so important. . . The book contains plenty to interest the growing army of business school employees whose duties, at least in part, are concerned with boosting their institution’s position in the rankings.’
– Education and Training

‘In times when the management education field is increasingly impacted by a proliferation of ranking exercises, this book is a timely and welcome contribution. Linda Wedlin unpacks for us the real meaning of the contemporary explosion of rankings. Rather than simple classification schemes and mechanisms, rankings are, she suggests, “arenas” where the field of business education is being created and re-created. They are the loci of “boundary-work”, whereby a field is progressively evolving and constituting itself. This is a convincing study relying on rich empirical data and carefully anchored in relevant theoretical debates. A must-read for all those, academics, students, policy-makers and education professionals, who want to understand the complex contemporary logics of higher education – in management but also probably well beyond.’
– Marie-Laure Djelic, ESSEC Business School, Paris, France

‘League tables appear everywhere and have become important aspects of business school environments. Based on in-depth and creatively combined empirical studies, Linda Wedlin provides us with explanations and insights on the emergence and impact of such rankings. This book should be of great value for all those who seek to "play the ranking game". It gives a fresh perspective on how classification mechanisms drive the emergence, boundary setting and change of organizational fields.’
– Kerstin Sahlin-Andersson, Uppsala University, Sweden

‘A fascinating study of the complex issues surrounding MBA rankings. Business schools really hate them but at times have to pretend to love them. Magazines and newspapers are really interested in their sales potential but have to make pretensions about their veracity. Linda Wedlin focuses on an area rich in hypocrisy and hype, but also one where there are real consequences: ranking furthered re-inforces the homogenising tendencies of MBAs.’
– Anthony Hopwood, Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, UK

‘This is a most fascinating topic, dealt with in a manner which is both serious and entertaining – everyone in a business school would want to read it. Linda Wedlin’s excellent research is presented with a no-nonsense approach – if there is anything worth counting, she counts it, and then interprets it, no fuss. Exemplary!’
– Barbara Czarniawska, Göteborg University, Sweden

‘This engaging book offers a fresh perspective on the burgeoning field of European management education and its intense concern with rankings. Using a creative mix of well-crafted research tools, Wedlin deftly captures a professional field in transition as it both expands and develops shared standards.’
– Walter W. Powell, Stanford University, US
Contents
Contents: Preface 1. European Management Education and the Proliferation of Business School Rankings 2. The Role of Classifications in Organizational Fields 3. A European Business School Field in the Making 4. The Forming and Re-forming of a Business School Template 5. The Creation and Re-creation of Positions 6. Business School Rankings and the Autonomy of the Field 7. Forming a Field and Making a Market in International Management Education 8. Arenas for Forming Identities, Fields and Boundaries References Index
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