Purpose – The paper aims to address the recent debate over the “relevance lost” of business school research and points to the establishment of neoliberal economic policy during the past three decades as an example of social change that has not been thoroughly theorized in business school research. Design/methodology/approach – The literature on neoliberalism is reviewed and, more specifically, its implications for the financialization of industry and the widespread use of financial theory in corporate governance. The paper outlines some of the consequences of neoliberalism, pointing out the connections between the growth of the finance industry and the 2008 financial crisis. Findings – The paper demonstrates that the financialization of industry and the institutionalization of finance theory, as the guiding corporate governance model used in the new millennium, have led to a concentration of capital in the finance industry. As a consequence, other productive investments have been postponed. Despite such shifts in corporate governance and economic policy more broadly, neoliberalism is a relatively marginal topic of discussion in business school research. Social implications – The study stresses the need for broadening the scope of business school research and addressing more long‐term institutional changes in economic policy and corporate governance. Originality/value – The paper emphasizes the need, not only for promoting practitioner relevance in business school research, but also for enacting an ambitious research agenda of broader social relevance.
International Journal of Organizational Analysis – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 8, 2014
Keywords: Neoliberalism; Corporate governance; Shareholder value; Financialization; Business school research; The 2008 financial crisis
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