Why Business Ignores the Business Schools

10 January 2008 at 10:59 pm 1 comment

| Peter Klein |

That’s the title of Michael Skapinker’s essay in the Financial Times (via Kenneth Amaeshi), which focuses on academic research in business administration (not teaching). Unlike their counterparts in law, medicine, and engineering, Skapinker argues, B-school professors focus almost exclusively on impressing their peers, leading to work that is too abstract, jargon-filled, and theoretical to interest practitioners. He blames not only the usual publish-or-perish incentives, but also the fact that “[w]ithin the university world, business schools suffer from a long-standing inferiority complex.” B-school faculty “prefer to adorn their work with scholarly tables, statistics and jargon because it makes them feel like real academics.” Ouch.

Interesting discussion fodder, and Skapinker is surely right that some research in management suffers from scientistic pretensions (perhaps less so in finance and accounting). I do think Skapinker overstates the close relationship between research and practice in medicine. (Try asking your family physician about something you read in the New England Journal of Medicine, or ask for a confidence interval on the point estimate you’re given about the likelihood drug X will cure your condition Y.)

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Education, Institutions.

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Gary Peters  |  11 January 2008 at 11:10 am

    Michael expresses an Interesting, although not new, opinion. I’m with Peter on overstating “the close relationship between research and practice in medicine.” More so, because I think the comparison is bad. Although, I suppose one could say the research analogy is comparing what makes people sick (and die) to what makes companies lose money (and fail). However, it is not clear to me that a company can take a “pill” to become profitable. Michael’s right about one thing, if I had the “pill” I would not waste it on an academic journal (which I suppose proves his point).

    (And yes, I know medical research is a world more than finding “pills”. That was just one example.)

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