The Financial Times business schools ranking: What quality is this signal of quality?

Palgrave Macmillan Limited
Publication Type:
Journal Article
European Management Review, 2008, 5 (4), pp. 195 - 208
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We suggest that the annual rankings of business schools have acquired a legitimacy that unduly defines the organizational field in a manner that makes it difficult and risky for most schools to manage to this measure of business school quality and positional status. To illustrate this we analyze the annual rankings produced by the Financial Times. This analysis illustrates that (a) these rankings are driven in large part by structural factors that many schools cannot change, (b) the ranks of the top schools are quite stable over time, and (c) the ranks of the bottom schools are quite dynamic. These effects provide a competitive advantage for the early entrants into the top ranks. Our research builds on the idea that the rankings are a social statistic that plays a crucial role in defining business school competition
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