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Reorienting the Business School Agenda: The Case for Relevance, Rigor, and Righteousness

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Abstract

This article contributes to the current debate regarding management education and research. It frames the current business school critique as a paradox regarding the arguments for ‘self-interest’ versus ‘altruism’ as human motives. Based on this, a typology of management with four representative types labeled: unguided, altruistic, egoistic, and righteous is developed. It is proposed that the path to the future of management education and research might be found by relegitimizing the ‘altruistic’ spirit of the classics of the great Axial Age (900-200 BCE) and marrying those ideas with the self-interest ideal of mainstream management theories based on economics. By advocating this, a business school agenda that is simultaneously rigorous, relevant, and righteous is promoted.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank Ben Arbaugh, Neal Ashkanasy, Anita Beal, Mats Lingblad, Hsiao Rueylin, Siri Terjesen, Scott Valentine, Charles Wankel, and two anonymous reviewers for insightful and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript. All remaining faults are solely the responsibility of the authors.

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Correspondence to Jon Billsberry.

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Birnik, A., Billsberry, J. Reorienting the Business School Agenda: The Case for Relevance, Rigor, and Righteousness. J Bus Ethics 82, 985–999 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-007-9607-x

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