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Emeritus Professor of Finance
Barbell Syndrome; Rigor Versus Relevance; Purpose Versus Performance; Research Versus Teaching; Faculty-Centrality Versus Student-Centrality
Hawawini G. (2023). On the Dilemmatic Legitimacy of Business Schools: The Barbell Syndrome and the Dominance of Business Degrees. In Debating Business School Legitimacy: Attacking, Rocking, and Defending the Status Quo (pp. 199-216). Palgrave Macmillan.
In this chapter, the author argues that business schools continue to suffer from dilemmatic issues within the academic and business communities despite their success in adapting to the changing economic and social environment.The author reviews four of the most prominent dilemmas: (1) rigor versus relevance in research, (2) purpose versus performance as the raison d’être of business schools, (3) the emphasis on research versus teaching, and (4) the placement of students versus faculty at the top of the school’s priorities.The author uses the expression “barbell syndrome” to describe these dilemmatic issues and suggest alternative paths schools can adopt to overcome the syndrome and examine the pros and cons of each path. He concludes with the claim that despite all the challenges business schools face, they should remain the pre-eminent suppliers of business education provided they retain their resilient character and ability to adapt to changes in the economic and social environment.