Management Education in the UK: The Roles of the British Academy of Management and the Association of Business Schools


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This paper uses institutional theory to analyse the role of the British Academy of Management (BAM) and the Association of Business Schools (ABS) in gaining legitimacy for management education in the UK. By the 1980s, serious issues surrounding rigour and relevance were being asked about UK business schools that raised concerns about the legitimacy of management as a discipline. A major consequence was that management received relatively low research funding compared with other social science disciplines from key funding bodies, e.g. the Economic and Social Science Research Council. Using archival and interview data, we examine how BAM and ABS, as professional bodies, applied multiple approaches aimed at improving the quality of management research and teaching to gain legitimacy from influential external agencies. An unintended consequence of these actions has been an increasing isomorphism in management research and education in the UK. Although some of the original concerns still remain with regard to management education, both organizations have been successful in increasing the external perception of legitimacy.


Europe has a deep legacy in formal management education. This stems from the first business school in Lisbon (Portugal) in 1759, through the Ecole Superieure de Commerce de Paris (France) in 1819 and the German Betriebswirtschaftslehre in the late 19th century to the Catholic-influenced institutions in France, Portugal, Spain and Italy at the turn of that century. Prussian administration influenced the founding of Wharton in 1881, although US business schools began earlier at Louisiana and Wisconsin in 1851 and 1852 respectively (Spender, 2008). In the UK, if we recognize the Staff College at Hayleybury (training centre for administrators of the British East India Company) as equivalent to these institutions, then its establishment in 1805 pre-dates all but Lisbon (Witzel, 2009).

In the UK, technical-based professional institutions, such as the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1847), the Institute of Chartered Accountants (1880) and the Chartered Institute of Secretaries (1902), led the way in education and training during the growth of the Empire. Institutions more closely associated with ‘management’ gradually emerged as the need arose for specialized managerial skills to confront the new challenges of competition, knowledge growth and complex organizational forms, e.g. the Sales Managers' Association in 1911 (now the Chartered Institute of Marketing); the Welfare Workers' Association in 1913 (now the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development); and the Institute of Industrial Administration in 1920 (now the Chartered Management Institute). These developments were founded on strong leadership, such as Urwick (Brech, Thomson and Wilson, 2010), Rowntree (Wilson and Thomson, 2006) and Elbourne (Elbourne, 1934).

Academia was slow to engage with management education, despite the setting up of the Faculties of Commerce at the London School of Economics (1895) and the Universities of Birmingham (1902) and Manchester (1904), because it was seen as too practical and insufficiently academic. Moreover, in the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, the dominant attitude of management was that leaders were ‘born and not made’. All this meant that UK technical colleges, with their closer associations with the professional institutions, were ahead of UK universities in regarding management education as a legitimate area of study (Thomas, 2008).

The first business schools in the UK to be part of the higher education sector were the London and Manchester Schools, which were created on the recommendation of the Franks Report (Franks, 1963), with the support of the Foundation for Management Education (FME)1 (Nind, 1985) and the government-established National Economic Development Council (Rose, 1970). However, a significant marker was reached when Urwick's report on Education for Management proposed that a Diploma in Management be introduced in technical and commercial colleges (Urwick, 1947). This meant that by the time the London and Manchester Business Schools recruited their first cohorts of Master of Science students, some technical colleges, polytechnics and colleges of advanced technology had graduated several cohorts of Diploma in Management Studies. This stream of students continued to grow when the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA) was created in 1964, to approve qualifications in non-university institutions.

Meanwhile, the university sector embraced the subject with increasing vigour from the early 1970s to the mid 1980s, with many management initiatives beginning in departments or schools of economics that provided an intellectual ‘imprimatur’. In parallel, the success of the Academy of Management in the USA provided leading UK academics with the inspiration to form the British Academy of Management2 (BAM) in 1986, with its first conference at Warwick Business School in 1987. This was followed closely by the formation of the Association of Business Schools (ABS) in 1992, to represent the voice of UK business school deans.

These humble and hesitant origins of UK management education made it impossible to predict its rapid growth over the next 50 years. In 2009, almost one in seven of all students in UK universities was studying business and management. This achievement was all the more impressive when one considers the challenges facing business schools during the 1970s and 1980s, many of which persist today. They can be categorized as follows.

Research and funding

  • 1Many business schools were being used as ‘cash cows’ by their parent university.
  • 2Colleagues in established academic disciplines questioned the academic credibility of those in management, particularly when all were competing for resources from the same financial pool.
  • 3Insufficient recognition was being given to business schools for their potential contribution to the national economy, and therefore for their involvement in the development of policies relating to economic and social affairs.
  • 4Employers felt that the emerging business schools were failing to meet their needs.


  • 5Academic staff new to management education had to go through a process of education themselves in adapting to their unfamiliar context.
  • 6The rapid expansion of management education in the UK threatened the quality of the ‘unregulated’ MBA degree.

There has been some attempt to analyse the implications of these issues on management education during this period. For example, Caswill and Wensley (2007) examine the role of policies developed by the Social Science Research Council (later the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC)) in promoting user engagement and the rigour and relevance debate in management research, while Starkey and Tiratsoo (2007, pp. 115–119) describe the implications of the Research and Assessment Exercise (RAE) at the business school level in terms of shaping the research agenda for academics. However, the role of the ABS and the BAM remains under-acknowledged.3 In this paper we examine the part played by these institutions in creating an identifiable and legitimate management education sector by promoting exchanges in knowledge and good practice in research, funding and teaching. We use institutional theory as a framework to analyse the strategies used to influence the legitimacy of management education under adverse conditions through (a) the formation of pressure groups to influence decision making and (b) the development of norms relating to the quality of business schools and their products (both qualifications and research). While both institutions represented the business and management community, each has different objectives: BAM is concerned mainly with improving the quality of research in management while ABS is concerned mainly with the quality and reputation of business schools and publicizing their contributions.

This paper is divided into four further sections. The next section outlines the institutional theory framework that guides the analysis of the subsequent case material. Then details on the sources of data and the method deployed are given, while the following section provides the case material for each of the BAM and ABS. The final section summarizes the findings, weaves these findings into the theory and provides concluding commentary.

Institutional theory

Despite the threads of management education in the UK stretching beyond the 1960s, the establishment of the first UK higher education business schools at Manchester and London mark the middle of that decade as the birth of a sector. We chose to view its emergence and development though the lens of institutional theory, as opposed to competing theories, e.g. population ecology or resource dependence, because our interest lies in professional bodies as units of analysis (Di Maggio and Powell, 1991; Greenwood, Suddaby and Hinnings, 2002) in both ABS and BAM, their symbolic status, their exertion of agency and the influence of isomorphic pressure. Professional bodies play an important role in a sector on three fronts: (1) they act as platforms through which the sector represents itself internally, e.g. by facilitating debate and through determining conditions of membership; (2) they act as negotiating or representative agencies for interacting with external agencies, especially to legitimize the sector's identity and role when they come under threat; (3) they oversee internally that members comply with agreed beliefs and practices (Greenwood, Suddaby and Hinnings, 2002, pp. 61–62). Although the main focus, internal or external, may differ, often the three activities are carried out simultaneously to achieve the stated objective. In this paper we are particularly concerned with the role of professional bodies in generating legitimacy from external stakeholders.

As early as the end of the 1960s (Mant, 1969; Owen, 1970) and for decades thereafter, external agencies (mainly government bodies and practitioners) questioned the direct utility of business schools in enhancing the quality of management and, consequently, the effect on national economic productivity and competitiveness. In parallel, research funding applications from academics to government research councils (e.g. ESRC) continued to be ineffective because of a perceived lack of quality and a paucity of ‘rigour and relevance’. Clearly, to thrive, the sector had to earn legitimacy4 from these external5 stakeholders. An integral part of legitimacy enhancement is the creation of formal structures that are engineered as much for their symbolism of legitimacy as for their efficiency in handling task action issues (Meyer and Rowan, 1977; Parsons and Bales, 1956).

Further legitimacy building emerges from the exertion of active agency through proactive pressure (e.g. political lobbying) to change institutional rules and regulations in the hope of altering the existing belief systems of targeted members of society (Di Maggio, 1988; Gomes, Garry and Rodrigues, 2008; Oliver, 2001). Usually, processes of measurement reinforce such activity, for instance where the technical underpinnings of accountancy or numeracy in general can have a positive effect on legitimacy perception and consequent acceptance through powerful psychological persuasion (Covaleski and Dirsmith, 1986; Masrani and McKiernan, 2011; Scott and Meyer, 1991).

Integral to the institutional lens is the process of isomorphism (see, for instance, Di Maggio and Powell, 1983). External shocks, like adverse criticism from significant stakeholders, can force sector agencies into a reformulation of their structural and strategic designs (Tolbert and Zucker, 1996; see also McKiernan and Wilson, 2011). There may be many individual new ‘ways of doing business’ operationalized but, in the early stages, no dominant model acceptable to recognized groups or important clusters is detectable. In time, ‘objectification’ occurs as a perceived successful model emerges and this is embraced cautiously by the sector until an understanding of the ‘best recipe’ (Spender, 1989) is clarified. Some players may be touted as exemplars and act to encourage others to adopt similar structures. The institutional process is complete when these structures have persisted to a point of robust ‘sedimentation’, when isomorphic convergence to homogeneity is evident across the sector through the pressure of three well-known forces: mimetic (copying, Sevón, 1996); normative (professionalization, Touron, 2005); and coercive (social obligation, Carmona and Macias, 2001; Carpenter and Feroz, 2001). Interestingly, it is difficult to identify the exact impact of each singly, as their individual impact varies over time and because these pressures often act in concert, when interactive effects become strong (Mizruchi and Fein, 1999). To endure, such institutionalism needs little challenge, perceived successful outcomes and constant active agency. In their absence, de-institutionalization can occur as the systemic model is reconfigured or replaced by aggressive new entrants or disgruntled existing players.

This study will examine the role of two professional institutions, the BAM and the ABS, in the legitimization of management education in the UK. In particular it will examine ways in which they sought legitimacy from key external stakeholders.

Data sources and research method

Research data for this paper were collected from multiple sources. For BAM, these included e-interviews with Chairpersons, Presidents and key Officers in 20076 and 20117; and archival material, including internal documents such as minutes of Council meetings, subcommittee meetings and private and published reports from its founding in 1986 to 2008. For ABS, personal interviews were conducted with every Chairperson from 1992 to 2010, and other key Officers when it was necessary to fill in any gaps. In addition, archival material was gathered from ABS from its foundation in 1992 to 2010, together with information from the antecedent bodies of ABS. In both the BAM and ABS cases, ‘critical incident’ questions were used to identify the events taking place in their history. In the case of ABS, particular views of respondents were sought as to what their Executive was trying to achieve during their term of office, and what were the factors that helped or hindered the achievement of these objectives. Views were also sought as to the main contributions that ABS had made to the business school sector, and how its role was likely to change in the future.

The role of ABS and BAM: generating legitimacy

Research funding: the exertion of active agency

Historically, government funding for research in management was markedly low. In 1988–9, with 76 proposals, the business and management studies discipline was the largest applicant for funds. However, its success rate was 12%, with only nine grants awarded. In comparison, the success rate in economics (48%), politics (40%) and sociology (36%) was much higher. Excluding research centres, the total amount of funds granted to management was £367,000, compared with £722,000 in linguistics and £710,000 in economics. The situation had become critical and these numbers triggered a powerful reaction in the business and management community. BAM was determined to use their persuasive psychological power to alter perceptions.

At this stage, the field for advocacy for the business and management community in the UK was scattered and its impact sporadic and non-systematic. Despite the best efforts of the Council for University Management Schools (see below), it was difficult to influence the dominant belief system of influential political and financial stakeholders. Moreover, there was no specific academy based model to follow. For instance, the Academy of Management in the USA had been founded 50 years earlier than BAM in 1936 and had not developed political-influencing abilities. Hence, in a significant alteration from previous reactive tactics, BAM started to exert pro-active agency, ab initio, in several ways to influence the grant-making process within the major government funding bodies, of which the ESRC was the most prominent. In the immediate term BAM focused its attention on three fronts.

First, in May 1990, the BAM Executive invited Howard Newby (ESRC)8 to their meeting to address the following issues directly:

  • the current funding and success rates of management research proposals
  • the involvement of management scholars on ESRC grant committees
  • the refereeing of management research proposals
  • the development of new research initiatives from the management research community

Second, a sub-group of the BAM Executive9 was created to debate and manage this agenda. By February 1992 it began to ask hard questions of the ESRC; in particular, why were there only two or three management specialists on the 20-member grant-giving board when they represented the largest constituency? Further, the Executive sought feedback on the rejected applications but was told that this could be given only with the permission of the referee concerned. However, after careful investigation, the sub-group discovered that several major factors were to blame:

  • The ESRC perceived management submissions to be weaker in presentation and methodology than those of other social science disciplines.
  • The issue of ‘relevance’ was important but the concept of ‘relevance’ had not been debated fully.
  • The ESRC did not have a sufficient number of referees nor suitably qualified referees for management research.
  • The ESRC criterion of ‘basic’ or ‘strategic’ was not a suitable taxonomy for much of management research.

This dialogue between BAM and its major institutional stakeholder, the ESRC, was productive. The 1992 Research Assessment Exercise10 (RAE) had confirmed the scale of the sector (2000 active researchers, 6000 publications, 86 departments, £20 m research income) and by June 1993 the ESRC recognized the low level of support that it had given to management research proposals, promising a review of its procedures and the elimination of any bias. For the profession, there was a general consensus that the standards of submission had to be improved to allay any perceptions held within the ESRC about relative quality in the social sciences. BAM reacted quickly and focused its 1993 annual conference on the ‘Crafting of management research’.

Third, in 1993 BAM collaborated wholly with the ESRC Commission on Management Research by supplying several members of its Council to act on the Commission and by submitting a detailed, written report. George Bain, a recognized leader in the field having presided as Dean at Warwick and London, chaired the Commission11 and presented its findings to the first BAM Directors of Research Network (DoRN) meeting at the London Business School in February 1994. The Commission made 12 recommendations, directed both at the ESRC and at business schools, researchers and the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC). The recommendations focused on four areas: (a) the formation of the Management Research Forum – a platform to promote dialogue between research providers and users; (b) enhanced support for research studentships and fellowships; (c) research training and development; (d) concern for relevance. The BAM Executive, with the full backing of its Council, supported the Report's recommendations with enthusiasm, especially the establishment of the Management Research Forum as BAM saw this as an opportunity to continue to widen its influence among key stakeholders. However, the lack of senior representatives from industry worked against the achievement of this outcome.

In addition, BAM had set up a Research Policy Subcommittee to coordinate action towards the achievement of its central goal – to foster a culture of research among management academics. The committee was instructed to harness its resources and gain active support in the community for the Bain Report's findings and to advise the BAM Executive on immediate policy actions. Despite this, two of the Report's recommendations to the ESRC provoked discontent amongst academics and there was further disquiet about the Report's tone and inclusiveness. First, in spite of the successful impact of an earlier Management Teaching Fellowship Scheme (1989), the new Fellowship Scheme recommendation, designed to bring young blood into the profession, was denied funding by the ESRC. Second, the criteria of ‘relevance’ were insufficiently defined, especially with regard to the construction of research proposals. Controversy raged in the Academy concerning whether such utilitarian decisions masked an ideology of ‘managerialism’ as scholars became concerned that their freedom to undertake research based upon alternative, post-modern, critical paradigms would be compromised.

Critics within BAM claimed that the Bain Report had not addressed the transparency of ESRC procedures well enough to promote change and many Directors of Research from the new university community claimed that it had taken an elitist view of research.12 They were concerned about the volume and direction of funding under the recommendations and looked to the Academy for help in promoting co-funding between old and new universities and for collaborative submissions. By late 1994, the influence of members from the new sector was highly significant in shaping BAM policy. These arguments, driven by the definitional uncertainty within the Commission's Report and the ESRC and the rapid population of the Academy by researchers from the new universities after 1992, persisted among the Council and DoRN throughout the 1990s.

As institutional theory guides, active agency must exert pressure continuously for real change to endure. These first influencing steps were the start of a campaign to privilege the ‘influence and lobbying’ within the strategic tenets of the Academy for the long term. The Bain Inquiry acted as a cornerstone of this strategy. BAM followed Bain by engineering reinforcing mechanisms in research (the DoRN), training and development, and collaboration. For each of these elements, BAM established formal committee structures to handle the task action issues involved. However, these committees had strong symbolic meaning in the face of critical stakeholders and so played an important legitimacy-enhancing role (Meyer and Rowan, 1977).

Directors of Research Network (DoRN)

In 1993 BAM established a specialized network, involving current and prospective Directors of Research, to (a) support Directors of Research in carrying out their roles in their own organizations; (b) develop UK research capability in business and management; and (c) raise the profile of UK business and management research in relation to that of the other social sciences.

The ESRC engagement and the setting up of the DoRN had sparked a debate on research direction and how best to establish the research culture both within BAM and within UK business schools. Importantly, after the first few RAEs, established universities had refined their research approaches and positioning while the new institutions were keen to borrow this knowledge to help them prepare for future audits. At the first DoRN meeting in February 1993 a range of issues were discussed (see Table 1).

Table 1. BAM Inaugural DoRN Meeting, February 1993: concerns of participants
1. How to develop a research culture?
2. Benchmarking: what is successful research? What is appropriate research in specific circumstances?
3. How to overcome the problem of critical mass?
4. How to learn from best practice?
5. How to develop a successful research proposal?
6. How to present research?
7. How to manage research? How to get resources for research? How to motivate busy teachers to do research? How to encourage collaborative research? What is the role of a Research Director?
8. How to ensure the current system does not encourage quantity over quality in research?
9. How to carry out research with low funding?
10. How to manage tension between individual and institutional research?
11. For new universities: what is the changing nature of research?
12. How to avoid some academics becoming teaching only staff? How to avoid insisting that everyone should do research?

For the next two years, the Directors of Research met, debated and, as expected, failed to agree on the purpose of management research, what appropriate standards should be applied and what the basis of funding should be. This diversity of opinion, though a challenge to BAM's initial objectives, helped to re-shape both the strategy and structure of the Academy and, eventually, led to an ‘official’ party line. This was influenced greatly by the work of Council members David Tranfield and Ken Starkey and captured in their 1998 paper in the British Journal of Management. Their suggestion was to position management research within the social sciences in a way equivalent to the position of engineering in the physical sciences or medicine in the biological sciences, i.e. that management research was trans-disciplinary and had to be informed by practice as well as concepts and theories. The authors had ensured that this view was embodied already in BAM's strategic reappraisal in November of 1997. With minor amendments, it has endured ever since.

BAM's influence was growing at the HEFC. Many academics appointed to serve on the committees for the 2001 RAE were drawn from those nominated by BAM. The DoRN began to run seminars on preparation for the RAE. Further, BAM was instrumental in furnishing the ESRC with themes for its five-year policy while providing evidence and critique for the ESRC of its broad-brush themes, including the identification of important omissions, e.g. the links between organizational performance and national performance, entrepreneurship, risk, innovation and European perspectives. To stimulate more influence of this kind, a media and policy sub-group was set up to project BAM's message and position itself effectively towards more external agencies.

After the 2001 RAE, the DoRN received less attention for a few years until changes to ESRC structures and policies, together with the looming 2008 RAE, caused the BAM Executive to reinvigorate this important network in 2004. The topics of discussion at the ‘re-launch’ meeting were the Lambert Review,13 conversation with the ESRC and the role of DoRN. It also saw the launch of a new annual Development Programme for Directors of Research run in association with the ABS. The programme brought together Directors of Research from the UK and some European business schools to share experiences and good practices under ‘Chatham House rules’ (see Table 2 for key objectives).

Table 2. Key objectives for development programme for Directors of Research
  1. Source: ABS

Role of Directors of Research, their organizational context and the expectations placed upon them
Issues in relation to research strategy, funding, the development of faculty, doctoral provision, quality and accreditation
Opportunity to participate in a development programme as opposed to one-off events, to learn with peers and the enhanced networking opportunities that this presents

Traditionally the DoRN events attracted high attendance, especially those on RAE or funding. However, attendance was sparse for events on general developmental issues of the network. Some participants felt that there was not enough support for them to attend unless they were from traditional research-oriented institutions. In 2009, BAM created a Research Advisory and Development Subcommittee (RADC), replacing DoRN, to allay some of these concerns and add vigour in helping it to achieve its research-related objectives (see Table 3 for RADC objectives).

Table 3. Objectives of the Research Advisory and Development Committee
  1. Source: BAM Annual Review 2009

Providing advice and expertise with regard to research policy and research development issues
Providing advice and assistance in drafting response to research-related consultations
Supporting the Directors of Research and others responsible for research activities
Providing advice on the development and delivery of training aimed at enhancing research capability across the BAM constituency
Pro-active engagement with stakeholders with interest in research to the benefit of the business and management community

Arguably, DoRN was the most influential of BAM's formal committees. In symbolizing the centrality of high quality research in the business and management community, it had some success in altering the sometimes negative attitude to this quality by academic peers in cognate disciplines on grant-making bodies.

Training and development

Training for senior researchers. The need for training to foster a culture of research was recognized during the early interactions with the ESRC on funding (see above). It was reinforced after the decision by John Major's Conservative Government in 1992 to grant university status to former polytechnics, central institutions and colleges of higher education. This swelled the membership of the Academy overnight. Without an established research culture in the host institutions, most of these new members looked to BAM to provide new skills, provide grant-getting know-how and help with publications. The more traditional research-based philosophy of the Academy, manifest in its inaugural objectives and strategy, came under pressure to provide for a large demand from a non-traditional sector that it had neither anticipated nor had the capacity to fill in the short run. BAM ran training activities regularly at its annual conferences during the 1990s to encourage a strong culture of research. More recently (2004), BAM began to collaborate with the Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) to offer workshops on writing research proposals and journal publishing and these enjoyed a strong demand. However, increasing the frequency and variety of events required a substantial financial resource.14 BAM used its growing links to the ESRC to secure additional funds, especially through its own members on the Training and Development Board. Again, in 2004, these two institutions submitted a proposal to the ESRC's Research Development Initiative (RDI) for programmes designed to enhance the UK's management research capacity. BAM's application was successful and it received a grant of £120,000. Subsequent awards secured sufficient funding for workshops from 2007 to 2010, which allowed BAM to increase its portfolio of training offerings. To emphasize the Academy's increasingly influential role in national research affairs, the ESRC invited it to act as a ‘Gateway of Support’ for training initiatives in business and management.15 In its political-influencing role, this switch of ‘dependence’ from BAM on the ESRC to a formal acknowledgement of its legitimacy and onto joint project progression was a major strategic breakthrough for the Academy.

Training young researchers. One of the founding aims of BAM was a commitment to the training of doctoral researchers. Initially, these activities were funded by internal resources and as a result limited the scope of activities on offer until 1994–95. Moreover, they were conducted on an ad hoc basis. However, the training committee soon began to draft these events into their annual agenda to become regular offerings. Importantly, BAM's growing links with the ESRC began to bear fruit. In 1997, it received support from the ESRC under the latter's training and development scheme. This widened the product offerings to include courses on preparing for viva, data analysis, case study research, and conducting a systematic literature review. More recently, provision from the RDI (see above) meant that BAM was able to provide continuing support from 2006 to 2010 to this important constituency. For example, the second round of RDI, termed The Northern Way,16 was dedicated to building and strengthening methodological capabilities. Furthermore, through its linkage to the AIM, BAM was also able to use very experienced scholars to deliver the events.


From 2000 to 2010, BAM established active links with several sister associations. These links played an important role in its ability to develop research-related policies and to further influence external stakeholders. Besides its collaboration with AIM, which resulted in grants under the RDI, it grew closer to the ABS and together they developed a new programme for Directors of Research in 2004. ABS was running a programme for new and aspiring Deans and this new joint venture programme for current and aspiring Directors of Research in its member schools and departments appeared as a natural extension to its existing training portfolio. BAM's emphasis on collaboration accelerated after a survey of members in 2007 urged it to ‘strengthen its political voice’. BAM initiated interactions with several sister academies.17 In 2008, bi-annual meetings were started with AIM, FME, SAMS, AoM, ORS, BAA and the ISBE. These meetings were organized under the Standing Committee for Research Academies in Management, which was led by BAM.

Hence, BAM's efforts to increase the perceived legitimacy of management research in the UK through political lobbying, dialogue with key external stakeholders, the setting up of formal committees in its structure, the use of symbolism, the provision of a broad portfolio of training programmes and a series of strategic alliances has enjoyed a degree of success. Major stakeholders (e.g. ESRC, HEFC) turn now to the Academy for consultation, policy advice, the population of committees and joint project work. But primarily, compared with the early 1990s, business and management research funding levels have increased dramatically. For example, funding by DUIS-funded18 research councils in 2008–9 stood at £22 million compared with £0.4 million in 1994 (see Figure 1). During this period, overall funding has risen from £22 million in 1994 to £66 million in 2008–9 (see Figure 2). The share of income from DUIS-funded research councils as a proportion of total allocations increased from 20% in 1994 to 34% in 2008–9. However, this is still lower in comparison with other disciplines. For example, in 2008–9 total income for business and management was around £66 million, compared with £125 million for information technology and £167 million for social studies. Ironically, despite recommendations from influential reports such as the Lambert Review to increase business–university collaboration, the share of income from industry to business and management declined from 18% in 1994 to 11% in 2008–9. Worryingly, in 2007–8 total research income fell for the first time since HESA began collecting records in 1994. This slide continued in 2008–9. Although funding from industry, charities and research councils has risen slightly, this has not covered the reduction in income from the central government (see Figure 2). Hence, although much has been achieved, securing research funding remains an ongoing battle for the Academy.

Figure 1.

Business and management funding: Department of Innovation, University and Skills (DIUS) Research Councils (1994–2008) (thousands)

Source: HESA records complied by ABS

Figure 2.

Total business and management funding (thousands)

Note: Covering DIUS Research Councils, UK-based charities (open competitive process), UK-based charities (other), UK central government bodies/local authorities, health and hospital authorities, UK industry, commerce and public corporations, EU government bodies, EU industry, commerce and public corporations, EU-based charities (open competitive process), EU other, non-EU industry, commerce and public corporations, non-EU-based charities (open competitive process), non-EU other, and Other sources.
Source: HESA records complied by ABS

In the legitimacy-influencing battle with stakeholders, the ABS joined BAM in 1992. At this time, the context remained unstructured. Both BAM and ABS had their own defined domain but ‘interlocking’ executive membership of the precursor organizations to the ABS ensured that knowledge was shared between each institution from the outset. Where BAM had a primary focus on research, the ABS concentrated on teaching and accreditation. Hence, the ABS was able to work for the legitimacy of management education across a different array of stakeholder groupings and so broaden the legitimacy-enhancing exercise. Moreover, because the ABS had a prehistory of engagement, it was involved in a variety of influencing activities from its outset and brought much needed skills and knowledge to the effort.

Association of Business Schools: the birth of a pressure group

ABS came into existence in 1992 as a result of a merger between two bodies that went back over 20 years – CUMS (Council of University Management Schools) and AMBE (Association of Management and Business Education). The latter originated from two bodies, one of which was named the Association of Regional Management Centres. From 1971, CUMS had been an informal group for discussing current issues facing business schools and for disseminating information relevant to its members. At the first meeting 12 schools sent representatives; two years later 23 schools were represented and formal minutes began to be kept. In 1973, one of its first tangible benefits came when it negotiated a low interest loan scheme with Midland Bank to assist postgraduate management education. Other networking opportunities came as links developed with such bodies as the European Foundation for Management Education, the Department of Education and Science, the Graduate Business Association (now the Association of MBAs or AMBA) and AMBE.

By 1977, CUMS had developed from its liaison roots to become an effective agent for its members and for management education in general. For instance, the ‘traumatic’ episode generated by Griffiths and Murray to privatize business schools (Griffiths and Murray, 1985) led to the setting-up of the working parties which resulted in the influential Constable/McCormick report (Constable and McCormick, 1987). The meeting that triggered these working parties was arranged and chaired by Bob Horton, then Chairman of BP and of the Council of Industry for Management Education, whose function was to coordinate the views of industry toward management education. Senior representatives of four other key stakeholder groups were present: John Stoddart, Director of the Council for National Academic Awards (representing the polytechnic sector), John Constable (Director of the Institute of Management), Andrew Thomson (Chair of CUMS), and Sir David Hancock (Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education and Science). The processes involved in the research and preparation of the BIM/CBI sponsored Constable/McCormick report made business schools more aware of their common problems (e.g. being treated as ‘cash cows’ by their universities), and reinforced the beliefs that effective management was a key factor in economic growth and that Britain was behind some of its competitors in the future supply of management education and development. This authoritative report included in one of its recommendations the statement: ‘Management schools should remain in their parent academic institutions but should have greater managerial and financial autonomy’. This statement legitimized the need for greater autonomy, shared by most UK management schools based in universities.

In 1988–9, under the Chairmanship of Professor (now Sir) George Bain, the formalization of CUMS reached a new peak when it transformed itself into a legal entity and employed its own part-time administrator (prior to this it was the secretary of whoever filled the Chair of CUMS who provided this service). This new status enhanced the institutional influence of its members as government and other bodies recognized it as the voice of business schools in the UK. Accordingly, direct representations on behalf of schools were made to the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education and Science relating to the Handy (Handy, Gordon and Gow, 1987)19 and Constable (Constable and McCormick, 1987) reports; and to the Chairman of the University Grants Committee relating to the next research selectivity exercise. And individuals in the House of Lords were briefed before their debate on management education in 1988.

More recently, ABS has undertaken many representational roles, including gathering and transmitting the collective views of business schools in national consultation exercises (e.g. the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education's paper on the post-Dearing future of quality audit and assessment); and ensuring that a business school voice is heard on key standing committees and committees of enquiry (e.g. the Chairperson of ABS, Stephen Watson, being made a member of the Council for Excellence in Management and Leadership which was set up in in April 2000 to advise on action needed to improve the quality of management and leadership in the UK).

Accreditation, regulation and quality enhancement. The next major step in the development and consolidation of management education in the UK came when CUMS and AMBE agreed to merge and form the Association of Business Schools (ABS) in 1992. The two bodies had cooperated already through conferences. The demise of the Council for National Academic Awards (CNAA), the growth of management education in the further education sector, the transformation of the polytechnics into universities and the enlightened leadership of several individuals made this a natural development. The Memorandum and Articles of Association of ABS were a modification of those of CUMS; extracts are shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Extracts from the Memorandum and Articles of Association of ABS
To advance the education of the public in business and management in particular through the promotion of business and management education training and development so as to improve the quality and effectiveness of the practice of management in the United Kingdom. In furtherance of such objects but not otherwise the Company may:
• Promote effective forms of organization administration teaching and research within institutions delivering undergraduate postgraduate or post-experience business and management education
• Promote research organizational structures and communications between members and the public and government to assist its members in their contributions to society at large
• Provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and stimulate discussion on the role of business and management education
• Organize and facilitate the development of the competence of all academic and administrative staff of member organizations
• Carry out any other role in the nature of assistance promotion investigation and exchange of information about business management education training and development generally…

A more succinct version of the ABS mission was agreed in 2002 when the first strategy plan was arrived at which gave recognition to its international as well as national role:

The Association of Business Schools is the representative body and authoritative voice for all the business schools of UK universities, higher education institutions and independent management colleges. ABS seeks to promote the interests of its members and the business and management education, training, research and development they provide, nationally and internationally, so as to improve the quality and effectiveness of management, entrepreneurship and leadership for the benefit of society at large.

Accreditation was one of the main pathways through which some of its objectives could be achieved. By applying this process across the business school sector and gaining active support, schools conformed to specific design criteria through the well-known isomorphic pressures of institutional theory – in particular mimetic and normative ones (see McKiernan and Wilson, 2011).

The ABS continued the work of the CNAA; indeed, in its dying days the CNAA helped the new body to establish itself by providing office space and administrative assistance. Jonathan Slack, the CNAA Registrar for Business, Management and Information Studies, was seconded to ABS before becoming one of its first two employees. One of the first accreditation initiatives of ABS was the formation of the Management Verification Consortium, in partnership with the Institute of Management. This body was intended to provide a robust verification process enabling business and management schools to award the Management Charter Initiative's National Vocational Qualifications and Scottish Vocational Qualifications. However, ABS soon withdrew from the consortium since only a few of its members felt that it met their needs and several academics criticized the competency-based approach adopted by the Management Charter Initiative (Burgoyne, 1988).

The importance that ABS attached to the accreditation of programmes and schools was not diminished by this venture. Other bodies were also concerned with these matters, namely the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the international European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD), and the already well-established AACSB in the USA. In an effort to have a single accreditation body in the UK, negotiations were held between ABS and AMBA in 1997 but these reached an impasse and the latter chose to proceed on its own. This had the effect of drawing ABS closer to EFMD with the result that it took the lead in the formation of EQUAL (Equal Quality Link). These events explain why many of the top business schools in the UK and abroad now seek, or are accredited, by Equis,20 AMBA and AACSB. Increasingly, the international orientation of Equis is shared with the other two associations (Greensted, 2000). Equis is not primarily concerned with the MBA but accredits business schools as a whole. It has established its recognition worldwide; 129 institutions have been awarded Equis accreditation in 36 countries, including 20 business schools in the UK.

Through its involvement in accreditation, ABS has been able to influence the content and standard of management education in the UK. It exerts its influence through a variety of means, including, in 1997–8 it was invited by the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to be the lead body for all masters degrees in business and management (a parallel with BAM's recognition by the ESRC as a ‘Gateway of Support’ for research); it has been involved continuously in EFMD's Equis scheme; generally, it is recognized as the main body representing business schools in the UK; full membership of ABS is associated with evidence of an acceptable standard. The latter's influence is achieved by laying down certain criteria for membership; these are reproduced in Table 5 as agreed at the 2008 AGM. The Executive Committee of ABS takes these into account when considering membership applications. In 2010 there were 116 full members.

Table 5. ABS membership criteria
Membership is available to institutions which are universities, colleges, schools or any other bodies which satisfy all of the following criteria:
• Delivery in the UK of higher education level qualifications in the business and administrative studies area as defined by HESA
• Have gained formal approval from the Privy Council and approval by either the QAA or QCA/SQA for their qualifications
• Demonstrable commitment to research or scholarship in relation to their qualifications
In considering the third criterion and whether an institution can demonstrate a commitment to research or scholarship, the following will be taken into account: the institutional strategy and policies, the quality and quantity of published outputs, and the existence of and support for the ‘community of scholars’ associated with the qualifications.

Publicizing management education. ABS has always recognized the importance of publicizing the benefits of management education. In 1997, Chris Greensted, as Chairperson of ABS, launched its first publication aimed at raising awareness of the immense contribution which business schools make to the national and international economies –Pillars of the Economy is now an annual publication (ABS, 2010–11). Participation in exhibitions and presentations to relevant bodies are also undertaken (e.g. overseas officials of the British Council). The ABS-sponsored publication The History of UK Business and Management Education (Williams, 2010) reinforces the current legitimacy of UK management education to a national and international audience.

Training and development. ABS has been receptive to the needs of its member organizations continually. This has led it to develop a successful profile of courses for various categories of staff, both academic and managerial (ABS, 2009–10). The first, aimed at deans and directors, was held in 2001; its success has resulted in a repeat of the programme in succeeding years. A parallel programme, launched in 2002, for senior administrators and managers has proved equally successful. Other developmental programmes have been run on a 50/50 basis with BAM: Directors of Research since 2004–5, and Directors of Teaching and Learning since 2005–6. ABS has also run programmes with bodies outside the UK on a 50/50 basis: the International Deans Programme with EFMD (now in its fourth year), and more recently a course for programme managers with a body corresponding to ABS in France. All these programmes have been financially successful.

A developmental network started by Allan Bolton (School Administrator, Lancaster University Management School) with the support of CUMS has continued to flourish under ABS. The Administrator's network has provided a regular platform for a sharing of knowledge and experience for the benefit of schools, e.g. in relation to improving the quality of service to students.

Academic journal quality guide. ABS was not concerned primarily with research and funding. Before BAM was established and while it was ‘finding its feet’, CUMS represented business schools in various national consultations that were taking place relating to research. Thus, in 1988, representations were made to the University Grants Committee re the Research Selectivity Exercise. Since then it has collaborated informally with BAM when appropriate. These interactions were facilitated when BAM took the deliberate decision to locate its administration in ABS's London offices in 2003. Further, most members of BAM are located in ABS member schools. However, the element of overlap between the two bodies (e.g. in the short course and conference areas) can be a source of potential conflict.

A recent initiative of ABS which comes close to challenging the boundaries with BAM relates to the publication Academic Journal Quality Guide which first appeared in 2007 (Harvey, Morris and Kelly, 2007). This is an example of ABS providing a service that its members had identified to meet the needs of UK business and management research communities in their search for greater quality. As Howard Thomas, at that time Dean of Warwick Business School, pointed out in the introduction of the first version:

The world of academic publishing has become ever more complex and competitive. An authoritative guide to the relative quality of the many hundreds of journals that publish the results of academic research has become necessary for several reasons. Those who fund research and evaluate the outcomes need a guide to the academic quality of the outlets in which it is published. Deans and other university senior managers need a reliable means of assessing the achievements of their academic staff; information professionals, responsible for large budgets, need to know what they are getting for their money when they purchase access to a journal or a bundle of journals. Above all, individual researchers need to be well informed when making choices with regard to preferred outlets for their work.

The guide is based on peer evaluation and limits the weight attached to citation indices; as such it is argued it should be a useful tool for individual academics and business schools, given the influence of academic publications in determining research income, career progression and school rankings. As expected, the first version of the guide covering over 1000 journals aroused some controversy as (a) the journal rankings were not coterminous with the expectations of authors who had published in them and (b) there were differences in the ABS rankings and those of other international lists. However, the methodology has been continually improved with the benefit of feedback and an advisory panel of experts. Evidence of the publication's success comes with the appearance of the fourth version (Harvey et al., 2010), its broad acceptance within the UK academic community and its increasing international following in other European countries. The success of the guide has exceeded expectations. It started as the brainchild of Harvey and Morris, with initial finance from ABS. It is now a ‘free’ ABS service to the business school community, and its influence has spread abroad. It receives the most popular hit on the ABS website.

The ABS list is one of many ranking lists that proliferate in the field (Adler and Harzing, 2009). Such rankings represent the process of commensuration whereby the qualitative process of scholarship is quantified by a numeral (Power, 2003). This use of measurement can be a powerful means of psychological persuasion in altering belief systems (provided the figures portray UK business and management research to be of world standing). From the first research audit exercise in 1988 to recent times, there appears to be an improvement in the quality and quantity of that research (though see Saunders, Wong and Saunders in this issue for a contrary view). Hence, such lists added their own strong message in attempting to influence the broad stakeholder group and so supported the legitimacy exercise. However, they have been criticized heavily by many scholars for their make-up and for the many unintended consequences of their over-active operation. Because they entered the narrative of business and management education in the UK so deeply, there have been strong isomorphic processes at work, especially coercion and mimicry, as schools strive for the top rankings and so converge on similar approaches (see McKiernan and Wilson, 2011).

Discussion and conclusion

This paper examined the part played by the two professional institutions, the BAM and the ABS, in the legitimization of management education in the UK. The theoretical framework adopted was that of institutional theory, where the establishment of ‘legitimacy’ by professional bodies among key external stakeholders was central (Greenwood, Suddaby and Hinnings, 2002).

Both BAM and ABS entered an embryonic UK field contextualized by a suspicion of the quality and applicability of management education and especially of its research component. Both institutions aimed to gain legitimacy from external stakeholders through active agency by lobbying, by creating formal and symbolic structures and through the use of measurement systems in order to influence the prevailing belief systems and to alter decision making rules and regulations, e.g. those pertaining to research funding. Table 6 summarizes their key contributions to the development of management education in the UK.

Table 6. Key contributions of BAM and ABS
Providing a forum for discussing research-related policy issues at national levelAccumulating and disseminating knowledge re the value of business schools to the British economy
Providing a structure for assessing and disseminating research outputsTaking lead roles for the accreditation of qualifications and their business schools
Building a case for enhanced funding of management researchEnsuring that the voice of the business school sector is heard on influential bodies
Running programmes for improving the quality of management researchRunning training programmes for deans and senior managers

The history of institutions in modern management education in the UK mirrors closely the phases of institutionalization. External shocks, like serious concerns with quality, triggered action in the early years by both BAM and the forerunners of ABS (e.g. CUMS) who adopted new strategies and structures in a pro-active, influencing campaign. Early successes led to the finessing of these strategies and structures, for instance in the adoption of formal committees (BAM) and accreditation alliances (ABS), making objectification possible in the 1990s and early 2000s. In recent years, with major stakeholder groups privileging these two institutions with significant presence (ESRC with BAM and QAA with ABS) and consulting them widely on all issues in the business and management domain, the road to sedimentation may have begun.

Traditionally, empirical studies using institutional theory have examined the role of three approaches (mimetic, coercive and normative) separately (Mizruchi and Fein, 1999). But as this study shows, often organizations use all three compliances, but perhaps the emphasis on each one differs at each stage of development. For example, BAM was established using the Academy of Management in the USA (including its journals) as a mimetic model. For the ABS, mimetic behaviours were less obvious, but one model that had an influence when CUMS was transformed into ABS was that of the CNAA. Once established, BAM attacked the prevailing belief system through the political lobbying of influential decision making bodies, particularly the ESRC, which had restricted research funding to management. By making nominations to decision making panels, BAM ensured that committee members were more empathetic to the needs and challenges of management research. In the case of ABS, coercive behaviours were displayed in the various committees in which ABS representatives participated such as the subcommittees of the QAA and the working parties associated with the Constable/McCormick report (e.g. Andrew Thomson as Chair of ABS). In addition to these, both organizations applied normative behaviour in parallel to achieve their objectives. Both coercive and normative strategies worked to mutually reinforce their impact and increased the visibility of BAM and ABS as the legitimate representative bodies within academia and beyond. BAM's normative activities concentrated on increasing the quality of research by promoting a culture of research through workshops and training activities. Accordingly its value in the educational and economic development of the nation has been enhanced, and the views of its members are likely to be consulted by policy making bodies when appropriate. In the case of ABS, normative activities were in the form of common standards that emerged relating to the contents of degrees and the levels of qualifications and experience required for acceptance onto programmes. These have increased the visibility of ABS and it is difficult to imagine anybody trying to influence business schools in the UK without first consulting ABS as the main representative of this sector.

Given the nature of the three categories of behaviours associated with institutional theory, it is not surprising that an element of isomorphism21 has arisen in the development of management education (see McKiernan and Wilson, 2011). The knowledge exchanges that the Directors of Research (BAM–ABS) and the Deans and Administrators (ABS) have participated in have led naturally to the ‘less successful’ copying the ‘successful’. This has sometimes resulted in undesirable consequences such as an overload of paper submissions to ‘top’ ranking journals.

However, although there is strong evidence that all three pressures operated together, there is some evidence that each may reach prominence at different phases of institutionalization. For instance, in the early stages, BAM's mimicry was prominent in the absence of a well-developed national institutional domain. It copied from other established UK organizations (e.g. in accounting) and the American Academy. During objectification, it made more use of coercive lobbying and, when legitimacy was becoming established, it turned heavily towards professionalizing its activities in a normative fashion. Only in sedimentation did it employ all three strongly in a parallel manner, making it difficult to identify either the relative impact of each or the power of their interaction (see Gomes, Garry and Rodrigues, 2008). The phasing was slightly different for the ABS, as it had different beginnings, being a development of previous forms of organization. Early on, ABS used coercive power through lobbying and this pressure has been paramount since then. Mimicry has been the less powerful force in its development, while normative professionalism has been a large part of its identity throughout. Hence, we conjecture that contextual factors, e.g. the presence or absence of competition at birth and/or the differing objectives of an organization may lead to an explanation of the significance of each pressure through the phases of institutionalization.

Another important point emerging from this analysis is that of ‘perceived legitimacy’ by key external constituents. One of the major concerns expressed by external constituents regarded ‘rigour and relevance’ of management research. This led some to question the legitimacy of management as a discipline and was one of the factors that restricted research funding. Both BAM and ABS made attempts to address rigour (through various training activities) and relevance (through promoting user engagement in research and publicizing managerial implications) to increase the legitimacy of management as a discipline. However, as Wensley's paper in this issue shows, the debate surrounding ‘rigour and relevance’ in management research has yet to reach a conclusion. Yet, between 1994 and 2008 research funding for management increased. Hence, we conjecture that key external constituents can sometimes perceive the actions undertaken towards addressing the causes that raise legitimacy issues as sufficient even though concerns surrounding that particular cause may not be resolved entirely to the satisfaction of the original institutions.

Thoughts for the future

The development of both BAM and ABS has been replicated in other countries, as new business school domains have emerged. This has led to supra bodies being formed such as the European Academy of Management (EURAM).22 These developments reflect the increasing globalization of management education, and the cross-recognition that takes place further strengthens the legitimacy of these institutions both nationally and internationally. But increasing global competition from ‘for profit’ business schools, the emergence of new B-school competitors in the East and the stakeholder criticism voiced at business schools and their MBAs over the moral obligations in the recent crisis and the consequent prevailing economic climate present new threats to the business and management landscape in the UK.

What are the consequences of these and other changes for the roles of BAM and ABS in the management education sector? They all have financial implications, and legitimacy on its own is an inadequate shelter from financial threats. It may be that more cooperative structures (if not a full merger) need to be introduced between ABS and BAM, between business schools themselves, and indeed between representative bodies in different countries. ‘Leadership’ is an ingredient that has paid dividends for both institutions in the past and it will continue to play an important part in ensuring sustained legitimacy in the future.


  1. 1The FME was formed in 1960 by a group of influential business men who saw a link between superior American productivity and US business schools.

  2. 2BAM's original aims were (a) to encourage the sharing and development of a research knowledge base for all management disciplines; (b) to act as a forum for the various disciplines in management and to encourage the development of an integrated body of knowledge commensurate with management as a profession; (c) to encourage and promote disciplinary research and collaboration amongst the various management disciplines; (d) to further the development of management education in the UK.

  3. 3Histories of the development of each of these institutions exist (for BAM, see McKiernan and Masrani, 2008; for ABS, see Williams, 2007) but they do not deal explicitly with the notion of legitimacy nor the co-joint impact.

  4. 4Suchman (1995) defines legitimacy as ‘the generalized perception … that the actions of an entity are desirable, proper, or appropriate within some socially constructed system of norms, values, beliefs and definitions’ (p. 174).

  5. 5Legitimacy can be earned internally and externally. However, in this paper we are concerned only with the gaining of legitimacy with external stakeholders. We recognize the greater validity and superior effectiveness of agencies with the broad support of internal players. In the cases of the ABS and BAM, we realize that this extent of support may not have been the case throughout the period under study, especially in the early years.

  6. 6These included Cary Cooper, Andrew Pettigrew, Andrew Thomson, Derek Pugh, David Otley, David Wilson, Roger Mansfield, Gerry Johnson, David Parker, Graham Hooley, Peter McKiernan, Richard Thorpe, Mark Easterby-Smith, Gerard Hodgkinson, Chris Huxham, Susan Cartwright, Ian Clarke, Jacky Holloway, Alan Murray, Allan Williams, John Burgoyne and Howard Thomas.

  7. 7Richard Thorpe, Mark Easterby-Smith and Chris Huxham.

  8. 8The ESRC is the main UK government funding body for business and management studies.

  9. 9This group consisted of Andrew Pettigrew as chair, Peter Buckley, Richard Butler, Barbara Lewis, David Otley and Robin Wensley.

  10. 10The RAE is the periodic (usually 5 year) research auditing exercise for all UK based, government funded institutions in the higher education sector. Such research auditing began in 1986 and covers subjects across the academic spectrum.

  11. 11The Bain Inquiry was set up in response to the continuing concerns about the ‘quality of management research, arrangement of funding, and need to strengthen research culture in business schools’ (Bain, 1993).

  12. 12This new community was formed when central institutions (former polytechnics) opted for university status in 1992. Previously, they had specialized in teaching and came fresh to formal research activity.

  13. 13The Lambert Review was commissioned by the Government in 2002 to review long-term links between business and university with a view to fostering greater collaboration between them to leverage the benefits of research to benefit the UK's economy.

  14. 14BAM continued to secure funds from various sources. For example, in 2007 it received support from the FME to run workshops throughout the year. However, there was insufficient funding to ensure long-term continuity.

  15. 15This resulted in establishing a dedicated website:

  16. 16Funding was aimed at a consortium of 14 business schools in the north of England.

  17. 17Institute of Small Business Entrepreneurship (ISBE), Foundation for Management Education (FME), UK Joint University Council for Social and Public Administration, Chartered Management Institute (CMI), British Accounting Association (BAA), Operational Research Society (ORS), Academy of International Business (AIB), Society for the Advancement of Management Studies (SAMS), Academy of Marketing (AoM).

  18. 18Department of University Innovation and Skills.

  19. 19The Charles Handy report The Making of Managers was sponsored by the National Economic Development Office and focused on the international context for management education in the UK, thus complementing the Constable/McCormick report which was concerned with the nature of the UK provision.

  20. 20EQUAL's accreditation arm.

  21. 21Here, isomorphic pressures can be witnessed at several levels, i.e. at the pan domain level in BAM and ABS and through the actions of individual business schools and then their scholars.

  22. 22BAM has been one of the main sponsors of EURAM since its beginnings in 2000 through BAM Chair Richard Whipp. Collaboration between the two Academies was reinforced when Peter McKiernan went from the Chair of BAM to the EURAM Presidency in 2007.

Dr Swapnesh Masrani is a Lecturer in International Business at the School of Management, University of Stirling. His research interest is in cross-fertilization of research in business history and strategy. Swapnesh completed his doctoral thesis at the University of St Andrews in 2008. The thesis examined the strategic response of manufacturing firms in the Dundee jute industry to increasing international competition between 1870 and 1970. His research has been published in a peer-refereed journal and as a chapter in a handbook on strategy. Swapnesh has played an active role in management academies; currently he is the Editorial Assistant for the European Academy of Management Newsletter and co-founder and track chair of the special interest group ‘Strategic Foresight’ in the British Academy of Management. At St Andrews, Swapnesh also co-founded the Scottish Doctoral Management Conference in 2005 and was a member of the organizing committee for the British Academy of Management and European Academy of Management annual conference in 2004.

Allan Williams is Emeritus Professor of Organisational Psychology, Cass Business School, City University London. He has degrees from Manchester and London Universities. Positions at Cass have included Director of Research and Deputy Dean, and he has been senior Pro-Vice Chancellor of the City University. Recent research has focused on leadership, organizational culture and change. He is a Fellow of the British Academy of Management, the British Psychological Society and the International Association of Applied Psychology; an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Liveryman of the City of London.

Peter McKiernan is Professor of Management in the Department of Management at Strathclyde Business School in Glasgow, Scotland. He is a past Chairman and President of the British Academy of Management, a past President of the European Academy of Management and a Companion of the Assocoation of Business Schools. His main research interest are in foresight, scenario planning and strategic management.