Management Education in India: Avoiding the Simulacra Effect

  • Abhoy K. OjhaEmail author


About 10 years ago, I reflected on the challenges of management education in India and argued that there was a need to protect it from the damaging effects of rankings by media (Ojha in Decision 32(2):19–33, 2005). A request to revisit and update the paper provided me a chance to examine the developments in the last decade to assess how things had evolved, and also an opportunity to anticipate some of the problems that the field might have to face in the future. I have chosen to examine the impact of accreditations of prominent management institutes in India, including the Indian Institutes of Management, by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) on management education in India. Continuing the spirit of my earlier reflections, I caution the leadership teams in management institutes to guard against losing control over the agenda and relevance of management education for India as they pursue global aspirations. Drawing on Baudrillard (Simulacra and simulation. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, 1994), I argue that unless management educators are alert to the long-term implications of externally driven accreditations there is a real danger that management education in India may be reduced to “Simulacra” that has no relevance to the issues and problems of our society, even as attempts to mimic management education in the USA may lead to an elusive mirage. Finally, as I did a decade ago, I appeal to the prominent management institutes, including the IIMs, to work together to develop and protect management education that is relevant to India.


Management education India Simulacra IIM AACSB 


  1. Adler, N. J., & Harzing, A.-W. (2009). When knowledge wins: Transcending the sense and nonsense of academic rankings. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 8(1), 72–95.Google Scholar
  2. Bannerjee, A. (2014). Poor management research in the India: Fault lines in the academic bulwark and ‘wayward’ priorities. Decision, 41(1), 3–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and simulation (trans: Sheila Faria Glaser). Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bennett, R., & Kottasz, R. (2011). Strategic, competitive, and co-operative approaches to internationalisation in European business schools. Journal of Marketing Management, 27(11–12), 1087–1116.Google Scholar
  5. Clinebell, S. K., & Clinebell, J. M. (2008). The tension in business education between Academic Rigor and Real-World relevance: The role of executive professors. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(1), 99–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collet, F., & Vives, L. (2013). From preeminence to prominence: The fall of U.S. business schools and the rise of European and Asian business schools in the Financial Times global MBA rankings. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 12(4), 540–563.Google Scholar
  7. Datar, S. M., Garvin, D., & Cullen, P. (2010). Rethinking the MBA: Business education at the Crossroads. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.Google Scholar
  8. Dayal, I. (2002). Developing management education in India. Journal of Management Research, 2(2), 98–113.Google Scholar
  9. DiMaggio, P., & Powell, W. (1983). The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields. American Sociological Review, 48(2), 147–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic management: A stakeholder approach. Boston: Pitman.Google Scholar
  11. Ghosal, S. (2005). Bad management theories are destroying good management practices. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 4(1), 75–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Goodman, P. S., & Beenen, G. (2008). Organizational learning contracts and management education. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(4), 521–534.Google Scholar
  13. Hedrick, D. W., Henson, S. E., Krieg, J. M., & Wassell, C. S. (2009). The effects of AACSB accreditation on faculty salaries and productivity. Journal of Education for Business, 85(284–291), 2010.Google Scholar
  14. Hodgson, S., & Clausen, T. (2012). Business education accreditation in the Middle East and North Africa: An interview with John Fernandes of AACSB. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 11(4), 736–743.Google Scholar
  15. Hunter, M. (2014). The occidental colonization of the mind: The dominance of “western” management theories in South-East Asian business schools. Economics, Management, and Financial Markets, 9(2), 95–114.Google Scholar
  16. Julian, S. D., & Ofori-Dankwa, J. C. (2006). Is accreditation good for the strategic decision making of traditional business schools? Academy of Management Learning & Education, 5(2), 225–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Khatri, N., Ojha, A. K., Budhwar, P., Srinivasan, V., & Varma, A. (2012). Management research in India: Current state and future directions. IIMB Management Review, 24, 104–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Khurana, R., & Spender, J. C. (2012). Herbert A. Simon on what ails business schools: More than ‘a problem in organizational design’. Journal of Management Studies, 49(3), 619–639.Google Scholar
  19. Khurana, R. (2007). From higher aims to hired hands: The social transformation of American business schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Khurana, R., & Nohria, N. (2008, October). It’s time to make management a true profession. Harvard Business Review, 70–77.Google Scholar
  21. Koys, D. J. (2008, March/April). Judging academic qualifications, professional qualifications, and participation of faculty using AACSB guidelines. Journal of Education for Business, 207–213.Google Scholar
  22. Lawrence, T., & Suddaby, R. (2006). Institutions and institutional work. In S. Clegg, C. Hardy, T. Lawrence, & W. Nord (Eds.), The Sage handbook of organizational studies. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  23. Lightbody, M. (2010). Exacerbating staff shortages and student dissatisfaction? The impact of AACSB accreditation on faculty recruitment in Australia. Australian Accounting Finance and Business Journal, 4(2), 3–18.Google Scholar
  24. Mackey, J., & Sisodia, R. (2013). Conscious capitalism. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.Google Scholar
  25. Manton, E. J., & English, D. E. (2007, January/February). The trend toward multiple authorship in business journals. Journal of Education for Business, 164–168.Google Scholar
  26. McKee, M. C., Mills, A. J., & Weatherbee, T. (2005). Institutional field of dreams: Exploring the AACSB and the new legitimacy of Canadian business schools. Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences, 22(4), 288–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Meyer, J. W., & Brian, R. (1977). Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American Journal of Sociology, 340–363.Google Scholar
  28. Miles, M. P., Hazeldine, M. F., & Munilla, L. S. (2004, September/October). The 2003 AACSB accreditation standards and implications for business faculty: A short note. Journal of Education for Business, 29–34.Google Scholar
  29. Moskal, P., Ellis, T., & Keon, T. (2008). Summary of assessment in higher education and the management of student-learning data. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(2), 269–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. O’Brien, J. P., Drnevich, P. L., Crook, R., & Armstrong, C. E. (2010). Does business school research add economic value for students? Academy of Management Learning & Education, 9(4), 638–651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ojha, A. K. (2005, July–December). Management education in India: Protecting it from the rankings onslaught. Decision, 32(2), 19–33.Google Scholar
  32. Oliver, C. (1991). Strategic responses to institutional processes. Academy of Management Review, 16(1), 145–179Google Scholar
  33. Paul, S. (1972). An application of cost-benefit analysis to management education. Journal of Political Economy, 328–346.Google Scholar
  34. Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. (2004). The business school ‘business’: Some lessons from the US experience. Journal of Management Studies, 41(8), 1501–1520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. (2002). The end of business schools? Less success than meets the Eye. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1(1), 78–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2006, December). Strategy and society: The link between competitive advantage and corporate social responsibility. Harvard Business Review, 78–92.Google Scholar
  37. Porter, M. E., & Kramer, M. R. (2011, January–February). Creating shared value. Harvard Business Review, 1–17.Google Scholar
  38. Pringle, C., & Michel, M. (2007, March/April) Assessment practices in AACSB-accredited business schools. Journal of Education for Business.Google Scholar
  39. Ray, J. L., Baker, L. T., & Plowman, D. A. (2011). Organizational mindfulness in business schools. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(2), 188–203.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Romero, E. J. (2008). AACSB accreditation: Addressing faculty concerns. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 7(2), 245–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Scherer, R. F., Javalgi, R. G., Bryant, M., & Tukel, O. (2005). Challenges of AACSB international accreditation for business schools in the United States and Europe. Thunderbird International Business Review, 47(6), 651–669.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Scott, W. (2001). Institutions and organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  43. Shaftel, J., & Shaftel, T. L. (2007). Educational assessment and the AACSB. Issues in Accounting Education, 22(2), 215–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith, K. J., Rosenberg, D. L., & Haight, G. T. (2009, March/April). An examination of AACSB member school processes for evaluating intellectual contributions and academic and professional qualifications of faculty. Journal of Education for Business, 219–227.Google Scholar
  45. Spender, J. C. (2008, October). Book review of ‘from higher aims to hired hands….’. Academy of Management Review, 1022–1026.Google Scholar
  46. Suchman, M. C. (1995). Managing legitimacy: Strategic and institutional approaches. Academy of Management Review, 20(3), 571–610.Google Scholar
  47. Trifts, J. W. (2012). The direct and indirect benefits and costs of AACSB accreditation. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 20–27 (Winter).Google Scholar
  48. Tullis, K. J., & Camey, J. P. (2007, September/October). Strategic implications of specialized business school accreditation: End of the line for some business education programs? Journal of Education for Business, 45–51.Google Scholar
  49. Tushman, M., & O’Reilly III, C. (2007). Research and relevance: Implications of pasteur’s quandrant for doctoral programs and faculty development. Academy of Management Journal, 50(4), 769–774.Google Scholar
  50. Varman, R., & Saha, B. (2009). Disciplining the discipline: Understanding postcolonial epistemic ideology in marketing. Journal of Marketing Management, 25(7–8), 811–824.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indian Institute of Management BangaloreBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations