Categories and Institutional Change: Contesting the Uncontested Space Through National Rankings

Khalil, Syed Haider and Shah, Syed Mohsin Ali and Sultan, Fahad and Khan, Muhammad Ibrahim and Nawaz, Sher (2023) Categories and Institutional Change: Contesting the Uncontested Space Through National Rankings. SAGE Open, 13 (3). ISSN 2158-2440

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The current study aims to examine how and why actors contest the business education field through rankings. Inspired by the field structuration process and field level change, we argue that categorization systems, in this case, rankings, construct boundaries of the business education field and redefine authority and elites for the field. Ten highly ranked Pakistani business schools were selected through a purposive sampling method. For the thematic analysis adopted in the current study, we collected empirical evidence mainly through interviews with the directors of accreditation and ranking bodies, deans, and marketing directors of business schools. The interview data was also supplemented by secondary data such as internal student surveys, business school’s annual reports, and other relevant sources of data. The current study showed institutional work in the business education field. Through categorization systems, actors use their authority to challenge the existing social order and define the uncontested space of the business education field in developing countries. Actors then populate the uncontested space with new members thus legitimizing new rules and standards for the field and promoting new elites for the field thus creating new social order.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
1 September 2023Accepted
14 September 2023Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: rankings, categorization, institutional work, business schools, field boundaries, higher education,
Subjects: CAH17 - business and management > CAH17-01 - business and management > CAH17-01-01 - business and management (non-specific)
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > College of Business, Digital Transformation & Entrepreneurship
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2024 14:04
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2024 14:04

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