Impressions from 2015 EFMD Higher Education Conference in Oxford

On the 3rd and 4th of June Jetta Frost, Fabian and me attended the 2015 EFMD Higher Education Research Conference in the Said Business School at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom. The Conference dealt with “The Legitimacy and Impact of Business Schools and Universities”.

The first day was opened with a keynote address of Jeffrey Pfeffer who shed light on current student culture in business schools in a slightly critical manner and reflected on the role and responsibility of business schools in society. The first parallel sessions dealt with reputation, rankings and the legitimacy of the business school and competition and change in higher education. They offered interesting perspectives on topics like the relations between states, universities and business schools, institutional change in the higher education system and competition. The second parallel sessions dealt with rankings, markets and performance in higher education and the legitimacy of Chinese universities and business schools. Fabian showed the audience how the effects of performance measurement in academia can be captured through a multiple-dimensional framework of scholars’ organizational identification and gained some positive and constructive feedback. The first day was concluded with a keynote address of Mats Alvesson who took the audience on a really entertaining trip through several paradoxes of the current higher education and business school system.

The second day was introduced with a keynote of Alis Oancea who presented the audience how the impact of research is related to several values in several societal spheres and how this relation can be systematized. The parallel sessions dealt with the meaning and significance of business school impact and the entrepreneurial activities and legitimacy of universities and business schools. They offered interesting perspectives on topics like the strengthening of higher education institutions legitimacy or the complexity of higher education institutions impact. At the end Andrew Pettigrew took leave in the name of the organisational team and named the conference “best EFMD-Conference so far”.

Beside the interesting content of the presentations we could enjoy the impressive atmosphere of Oxford. We visited many of the 38 colleges that constitute the University of Oxford. On wednesday we had our dinner in the hall at Balliol College, which is the oldest Oxford College that has a lot of famous absolvents, inter alia Adam Smith and a few prime ministers. On the whole it was a really nice conference in an inspiring environment. We are looking forward to next year’s EFMD Higher Education Research Conference!

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