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‘Physics Envy’, Cognitive Legitimacy or Practical Relevance: Dilemmas in the Evolution of Management Research in the UK

[Howard Thomas] and Alexander Wilson
British Journal of Management, 22, 3, 443-456


We reflect on the key debates and controversies that face business schools and management research. This paper frames the core debates in terms of organizational legitimacy as a lens through which to analyse the rapid rise and development of business schools in the UK. The production of management knowledge straddles the precarious divide between academic rigour and practical relevance. We argue that the conflicting sources of legitimacy could be undermining the international research competitiveness of UK schools and that a far-reaching review of management education and research is necessary.