The institutional role of business school accreditation agencies:
a systematic literature review
Keywords:Legitimacy, Institutional theory, Institutionalization, Business school, Accreditation agencies
Purpose – Accreditation is a growing phenomenon and has begun to permeate scientific studies, most of which are quantitative, since they focus on the process of accreditation and its positive or negative effects. Only a few studies have analyzed this phenomenon from the perspective of institutional theory. As there is no consensus regarding the performance of accreditation agencies, the purpose of this paper is to identify their institutional role in the global orientation of the organizational practices, values and decisions of business schools (BS). Design/methodology/approach – A systematic literature review enabled us to identify scientific publications since 2002 that have used institutional theory when discussing BS accreditation agencies. An in-depth reading of these articles led us to identify the most frequent, similar and contrasting perspectives. Seven aspects were analyzed in each article: theme, research assumption, theoretical basis, method, research context, result and suggestions for future studies. Findings – The findings suggest a certain duality in the role of these agencies. If, on the one hand, they are responsible for providing a quality seal, on the other hand, they promote legitimacy in the field by institutionalizing international rules. Originality/value – By investigating the performance of these agencies as global institutional bodies, the authors extrapolated the traditional discussion on the dynamic of interaction between local actors who both influence the field and are influenced by it, a recurring theme in institutional theory.