The Impact of World Ranking Systems on Graduate Schools of Business: Promoting the Manipulation of Image over the Management of Substance

Kent V. Rondeau


This essay explores and examines how rankings and league tables have played (and continue to play) a major and
consequential role in how contemporary business schools manage their affairs. It introduces and advances the
proposition that rankings promote the short-term manipulation of public reputation (image) projected by business
schools at the expense of the long-term investments in quality improvement. When schools shift scarce resources to
actions aimed at enhancing their public image in the short-term, the consequences for the quality of the professional
education is significantly compromised in the long-term to the detriment of the constituencies that they serve. While
this paper focuses mainly on business schools in the United States and Canada, where this author has experienced
these consequences first-hand, the effects are similar if perhaps less dramatic, for those professional business
programs located in higher education institutions operating in the United Kingdom and Europe. While ranking
systems are not going away anytime soon, some potential ways are identified for business schools to escape the
deleterious and perverse effects of being captive players in the deadly rankings game.

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World Journal of Education
ISSN 1925-0746(Print)  ISSN 1925-0754(Online)

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