Chapter | Business Schools and their Contribution to Society | 2011

American Exceptionalism?: A Comparative Analysis of the Origins and Trajectory of U.S. Business Education Development

by Rakesh Khurana

Abstract

As business education in an academic setting becomes an increasingly global phenomenon, the university-based business school in America remains a unique institution. This holds true despite the fact that the American business school as it evolved in the post-World War II era has become the dominant model for business schools in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Most observers looking at these institutions as they exist today, without an awareness of their differing historical origins and development, would likely conclude that business schools inside and outside of the United States exhibit more similarities than differences. Yet the uniqueness of the American business school lies not so much in the widely imitated strategies and practices it has developed over the last sixty years as in the way that, for more than a century, it has articulated and shaped for the larger society a set of ideas, aspirations, and norms concerning business and management. Moreover, the visions and values animating the university-based business school in America—which arguably account more than any other factor for the great influence it has enjoyed in American society—have changed significantly from the era when the earliest schools were founded up until the present day. Thus the institution that came to be the major influence on business education worldwide in the postwar era is significantly different from the one that preceded it in the first half of the twentieth century, when American and European business schools developed along largely separate lines.

Keywords: Values and Beliefs; Business History; Business Education; Power and Influence; Society; United States; Europe;

Citation:

Khurana, Rakesh. "American Exceptionalism?: A Comparative Analysis of the Origins and Trajectory of U.S. Business Education Development." In Business Schools and their Contribution to Society, edited by Mette Morsing and Alfons Sauquet. Sage Publications, 2011.