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Designing a Better Business School: Channelling Herbert Simon, Addressing the Critics, and Developing Actionable Knowledge for Professionalizing Managers

2012

Denise M. Rousseau

Herbert Simon’s 1967 article ‘The business school: a problem in organizational design’ anticipated many of the challenges business schools face today. Critics charge business schools with failing to realize their primary purpose, that is, to produce professional managers. This article revisits what Simon advocated with regard to a core feature of this professionalism, the production of essential management knowledge, and the process of educating people in applying it. With Simon as a guide, this article outlines educational and research interventions to help business schools realize their founding purpose. In doing so, it addresses the distinctive knowledge products that business school research can contribute to the management profession. This article also highlights the key role that evidence-based management and the related practices of design science play in providing a more complete solution to the design problem Simon identified.

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