The relevance and impact of business schools: In search of a holistic view

Samuel Douglas James Redgrave*, Vadim Grinevich, Dorrie Chao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The degree to which business schools are relevant and impactful for society has been disputed. Critics that engage in the so-called “relevance problem” have argued that business schools are preoccupied with academic rigour at the expense of practical relevance, resulting in a lack of societal impact. This systematic literature review synthesizes the fragmented body of knowledge pertaining to the relevance and impact of business schools. Appreciating the contributions of both research and education, this review offers a holistic view that acknowledges the multidimensional nature of business schools. Based on an analysis of 266 journal articles, we present the four main literature streams in this domain. We find limited evidence of cross-fertilisation between discussions of research and education. However, by acknowledging the contribution of applying a multidimensional lens to the study of business schools, we develop a holistic thematic framework that provides theoretical directions for the future. Using this, we demonstrate four avenues for advancing the business school literature. First, we emphasise the potential of an institutional logics perspective to viewing business schools. Second, we offer a novel proposal for understanding the bridge between research and education. Third, we emphasise the application of a value co-creation theoretical lens when considering how business schools engage with stakeholders in research and education. Finally, we propose an all-encompassing stakeholder-centric definition of relevant and impactful knowledge and advocate for this inclusive definition to conceptually bridge the fragmented discussions of research and education.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Management Reviews
Early online date19 Aug 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 19 Aug 2022


  • business schools
  • business school research
  • business school education
  • relevance
  • impact
  • holistic thematic framework
  • UKRI
  • ESRC
  • ES/P000673/1


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