Ferlie, Ewan, Currie, Graeme, Davies, Julie and Ramadan, Nora (2014) Business schools inside the academy: What are the prospects for interdepartmental research collaboration? In: The Institutional Development of Business Schools. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 221-247. ISBN 9780198713364

Established literature about the role of business schools tends towards more parochial concerns, such as their need for a more pluralist and socially reflexive mode of knowledge production (Starkey and Tiratsoo 2007; Starkey et al 2009) or the failure of management’s professionalism project expressed through the business school movement (Khurana 2007). When casting their gaze otherwise, academic commentators examine business schools’ weakening links with management practice (Bennis and O’Toole 2005). Our theme makes a novel contribution to the business school literature through exploring prospects for research collaborations with other university departments. We draw upon the case of UK business schools, which are typically university-based (unlike some of their European counterparts), and provide illustrations relating to collaboration with medical schools to make our analytical points. We might expect that business schools and medical schools effectively collaborate given their similar vocational underpinnings, but at the same time, there are significant differences, such as differing paradigms of research and the extent to which the practice fields are professionalised. This means collaboration may prove challenging. In short, the case of collaboration between business schools and medical schools is likely to illuminate the challenges for business schools ‘reaching out’ to other university departments.

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