Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Top B-School Deans Are Top Scholars

Amanda H. Goodall (Warwick Business School) has posted an interesting paper, Does it Take an Expert to Lead Experts? An Empirical Study of Business School Deans, on the Cornell ILR School web site.  Here is the abstract:

Should knowledge-intensive organizations be led by experts? To explore this, the paper studies the case of the world s leading business schools. It asks the question: are top scholars leading the top schools? A statistically significant correlation is presented. The higher a business school is in a global ranking, the higher the number of life-time citations of the dean. The paper offers a theory to explain this. Interview evidence is also provided.

Today's Inside Higher Ed reports on the paper in Academics In Charge at B-Schools:

Whether scholars or executives make better business school deans is an inherently subjective question — and one that is discussed around the world. What’s clear, based on a recent study, is that top business schools favor hiring leaders with extensive publishing records. Business schools that finished highest in the 2005 Financial Times Global MBA ranking have deans with the highest levels of lifetime citations, which are measures of one’s references in scholarly papers and one indicator of academic reputation

This paper follows up on Goodall's earlier work, Should Top Universities be Led by Top Researchers and Are They? A Citations Analysis, 62 Journal of Documentation ___ (2006) (blogged here).

These findings are directly contrary to my argument in What Law Schools Can Learn from Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics, 82 Texas L. Rev. 1483, 1552-53 (2004), that law school deans need not be top scholars:

The conventional wisdom in legal education — by insisting that deans when hired be leading scholars and that they continue to be engaged in substantial scholarship during their deanship — is contrary to the lessons in Moneyball. Billy Beane’s example suggests that the revolutionary dean . . . may turn out to rank below the mid-range in scholarly productivity and impact measures. But Dean Beane will have the requisite talents, tenacity, and temperament to drive all law school players to better performance. Dean Beane will confront tradition head on, challenging the conventional wisdom with the certainty of one who has seen (and lived) its limits first-hand.... The innovative law school of the future (like the Oakland A’s of today) very well might be one which would never have hired its dean as a faculty member (or its general manager as a player) in the first place.

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