Starkey and Madan (2001) propose that changing conditions of knowledge production mean that business schools face an increasing relevance gap which, if they do not respond, will be filled by management consultants and corporate universities. In this response, I question the core assumptions of their analysis, suggesting that they misunderstand both the historical role and present practices of universities and business schools. In particular they fail to understand the complexities of knowledge production, its relationship to practice and the importance of ‘independence’ which is the unique contribution that universities make to society. I argue that their proposal to bridge the relevance gap would, if adopted, have the effect of leaving business schools with no defensible social role. Thus, ironically, their ‘solution’ to the challenges facing business schools would in fact exacerbate the problems they currently face.
British Journal of Management – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 2001
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