Invisible Legitimacy at Global Scale vs. Visible Legitimacy at Local Context: A Paradox of Business Schools in Armed Conflict and Crisis Environments

Jacobo Ramirez, Claudia Patricia Velez-Zapata

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


Development of young people could be an important focus for the implementation of humanitarian assistance policies. Business Schools (BS) seem to be inactive in developing strategies within educational programs in context of armed conflict and crisis. It seems that BS’ priority keep being centered on developing legitimacy by 1) meeting goals dictated by international accreditation agencies, which do not necessarily reflect the current changing context, 2 ) developing students’ skills aiming profit productivity, profitability, among others aspects. In management education literature little is found on BS’ responses to consequences of armed conflict, for example in Europe –asylum seekers or in Africa and Latin America ex-combats of armed groups. In the current global context, we would like to explore and analyze the impact of armed conflict and crisis on BS’ emerging strategy to responses to such contexts. Lessons could be drawn from the role of educational system in Colombia, in the context of organized crime and violence, as a result of narcoterrorism and other armed conflicts. In recent years the Colombian Government has focused in educations. An example is a scholarship program to victims of forced displacement, ex-combat of war and people without the resources to access a high education programs. In practices private institutions of higher education (in Colombia) are being “forced” to accept and integrate a “new” profile of students. We present a case that suggests tensions derived from conflicting institutional logics to maintain national legitimacy and an aspiration to gain international recognition at a BS in an armed conflict context. It could be argued that these BS’ initiatives have helped them to build legitimacy in Colombia. But, it could be also argued that BS’ strategies in Colombia tend to be invisible to 1) international accreditation standards and 2) profitability rhetoric.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventNOLAN 2017: Latin American Challenges in the 21st Century: Societies in Motion - University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
Duration: 15 Jun 201717 Jun 2017
Conference number: 9


ConferenceNOLAN 2017
LocationUniversity of Gothenburg
Internet address


  • Business Schools
  • Legitimacy
  • Institutional logics
  • Decoupling
  • Armed conflict
  • Colombia

Cite this