Bad for business

June 20, 1997

Watching the Oxford University management school sideshow (THES, June 6) 1 feel moved to throw a cushion from the cheap seats at Brookes. Brookes business school got a research rating of one, because the RAE did not do zeros. Nevertheless, between Valentine Cunningham's Victorian snobbery towards the grubby world of commerce, and John Kay's sceptical pragmatism, I can see little to inspire in the vision of a new discipline at the centre of the academic world.

If every discipline turns out, as I believe it does, to be a fairly loose confederation of ideologies, the management/marketing/organisation studies ought to be able to muster a more educationally edifying rationale than the financial instrumentalism implied in John Kay's tired argument. If other disciplines cannot be persuaded that this field is not, in spite of Valentine Cunningham's childish caricature, a sinister conspiracy of shiny-suited academic pimps, then the prospects for genuine academic progress on this front seem bleak indeed.

Christopher Hackley Senior lecturer in marketing Oxford Brookes University school of business

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