Some business schools have come under considerable criticism for what observers see as their complicit involvement in the corporate scandals and financial crises of the last 15 years. Much of the discussion about changes that schools might undertake has been focused on curriculum issues. However, revisiting the curriculum does not get at the root cause of the problem. Instead, it might create a new challenge: the risk of decoupling the discussion of the curriculum from broader issues of institutional purpose. In this article, we argue that the most pressing need facing business schools is not to teach new courses to be responsive to social demands and stay relevant. Instead, it is to revisit their basic mission—the principles and beliefs on which they were founded—and then to re-evaluate their curriculum design choices in this light. We contrast the Spartan and Athenian educational paradigms as a way of shedding light on the nature of a coherent response.
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Rubin & Dierdorff study is based on all the articles published in Academy of Management Learning and Education from 2002 to the January issue of 2012. They included only scholarly contributions of knowledge creation that had direct or obvious implications for MBA programs by reviewing article abstracts and keywords using each article’s citation record. Finally, they employed an article-coding scheme based on a recent MBA program quality model developed by Rubin et al. (2011).
We are grateful to an anonymous referee for helping us to include additional analyses on the political power structures that have great influence on business school policy and practice.
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The authors would like to thank Dr. Cristina Neesham for her editorial guidance and we acknowledge with great appreciation the comments of two anonymous reviewers on earlier versions of this manuscript. Additionally, Maria J. Murcia would like to thank Dr. Rajat Panwar for his ongoing encouragement and support and useful comments on this piece.
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Murcia, M.J., Rocha, H.O. & Birkinshaw, J. Business Schools at the Crossroads? A Trip Back from Sparta to Athens. J Bus Ethics 150, 579–591 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-016-3129-3
- Ancient Greece
- Business schools
- Curriculum issues
- Sparta and Athens