Avoiding the Iron Cage of Business School Rankings

Josep M. Lozano, Ivan Bofarull, Sandra Waddock, Queralt Prat-i-Pubill

Research output: Indexed journal article Articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We argue that rankings force business schools to increasingly follow similar curricula and strategic approaches, creating a “iron cage” that influences the nature, quality, and pedagogies of what is taught, particularly for striving business schools that wish to join the ranks of highly rated ones. Following rankings pressures measures is particularly problematic for schools striving for top ratings, for non-accredited institutions, and for smaller, more teaching-oriented institutions who play what amounts to an unwinnable game because of the stability of rankings over time. There are other innovative approaches to managing rankings pressures beyond conforming, by seeking differentiation strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-157
Number of pages23
JournalHigher Education Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020


  • accreditations
  • ethics
  • higher education
  • management education
  • rankings


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