The Regime of Excellence and the Erosion of Ethos in Critical Management Studies

Nick Butler*, Sverre Spoelstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The regime of excellence - manifested in journal rankings and research assessments - is coming to increasing prominence in the contemporary university. Critical scholars have responded to the encroaching ideology of excellence in various ways: while some seek to defend such measures of academic performance on the grounds that they provide accountability and transparency in place of elitism and privilege, others have criticized their impact on scholarship. The present paper contributes to the debate by exploring the relationship between the regime of excellence and critical management studies (CMS). Drawing on extensive interviews with CMS professors, we show how the regime of excellence is eroding the ethos of critical scholars. As a result, decisions about what to research and where to publish are increasingly being made according to the diktats of research assessments, journal rankings and managing editors of premier outlets. This suggests that CMS researchers may find themselves inadvertently aiding and abetting the rise of managerialism in the university sector, which raises troubling questions about the future of critical scholarship in the business school.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of Management
Volume25
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)538-550
Number of pages13
ISSN1045-3172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Externally publishedYes

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