The Business School Business in Europe, Asia and the US

The Financial Times featured an interesting article from business guru Charles Baden Fuller. Professor at the Cass Business School of the City University, London. He observes a decrease in the gap between management research between the US and other regions like Europe and Asia. Although he acknowledges the supremacy of the US in the field, he says that the US share of management research will fall below 50 percent the next few years:

Research output in management is still concentrated: less than 3 per cent of the world’s universities produce more than 70 per cent of global output. Of these 214 universities, 126 are in the US, 13 in Canada, 57 in Europe and 18 in Asia and elsewhere. But comparative world positions have been changing quickly. My research** reveals how the world’s academic business research output has become more dispersed.

While Wharton and Harvard are still the best by a margin, Europe now accounts for 25 per cent of international research output. Its best schools – London Business School, Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus), Insead and Tilburg are in the global top 30. Asian schools – in China and Singapore especially – are further behind but their stock is rising even faster.

While some of the best US schools admit privately to being worried, publicly they stress their continued dominance – at least, according to their data. But their measurements overemphasise past successes, ignore current trends and importantly use narrowly based research measures, looking only at material published in US journals and ignoring the fact that important new ideas are increasingly being published in highly regarded, peer-reviewed non-US publications.

The interesting part is his explanation for the rise of European and Asian management research. He claims they are more innovative in their approaches and engage more in cross border comparative work than their Colleagues in the US. Another factor is that European and Asian researchers seem to focus more on micro issues where US academics emphasise macrostatistical trends.

I have always admired the US management research and think they have produced some of the most interesting and sophisticated social science studies in the past decades. Not just in the field of economics but especially in sociology where many of the recent breakthroughs have come out of business schools. At the same I indeed found them to be very US centric. I think this is related to their emphasis on macrostatistical trends. If the priority is on the cleanliness of data sets and the complexity of the modeling, than comparative studies are just a nuisance. But of course, social sciences can not be just about data and models, it’s also about reality. And the reality is after all becoming less tidy, more global and less US centred…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *