Differentiated evolution not a common revolution: Analysing MBA education in Britain using New Institutionalism as a conceptual framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-123
JournalJournal of International Education in Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper aimed to explore the reform and development of the MBA within pre-1992 and post-1992 universities in the United Kingdom with reference to New Institutionalism and field theory.

Design / Methodology / Approach:
The methodology adopted the approaches of Navarro (2008) and Kars-Unluoglu (2016) that involved a web-based review of those pre-1992 universities listed in the Financial Times 'top-100' MBAs, as well as a review of a regional grouping of four post-1992 universities.

The findings echo the work of Wilkins and Huisman (2012) who argued that British business schools were stratified into distinct organisational fields, each catering for their own market. Whereas the pre-1992 universities are able to offer a wide array of electives and pathways to enable personalization and specialization of the curriculum, post-1992 universities appear to offer a more
constrained curriculum offer.

Research limitations / Implications:
This review would have benefited from closer interrogation of curriculum content through interviews with Program Leaders/Directors. Future research should involve a larger sample from the post-1992 sector.

Originality / Value:
This paper provides an up to date analysis of the direction taken by British universities. It shows that the MBA market is differentiated with an elite focussed more catering for an international market than the post-1992 universities who still exhibit a commitment to their local market.

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