Business schools and scholars (2)

I decided to give an interim update of the assessment of business schools and scholars on the island of Ireland, because things have changed. Latest results are here.

The records of 18 people have been double-checked and corrected where appropriate. More significantly, I had overlooked a department in Maynooth which has been added. Another department employs two high performers without listing them on their front page.

As a result, the preliminary ranking has changed: TCD, (UCD, QUB), (NUIG, UU, NUIM), (DCU, UL), DIT, NCI. Brackets indicate institutions whose performance is similar.

Note that Cork is still missing.

I’ve added sex and rank where known. The sex results are not good. The rank results are roughly as they should be: professor > reader > senior lecturer > lecturer > junior lecturer.

There are two exceptions, however: Associate professors perform on par with full professors, and post-docs perform on par with lecturers. I would expect there to be progression from the former to the latter.

While looking at the ranks, I came across all sorts of weird stuff. Full professors without a doctorate. Teaching assistants with a doctorate. Lecturers of French (in a business school!). Senior teaching assistants. And one of the department runs a restaurant — ostensibly for experimental purposes.

31 replies on “Business schools and scholars (2)”

Why is UCC still missing?

As far back as 1976, AIB sponsored a chair in business management there.

The first incumbent was Leonard Wrigley who used to fly in from Canada overnight Thursday to impress the natives with the case study method.

Like much else in life, there was a lot of waffle and name dropping about it but the initiative set the ball rolling.

>> I came across all sorts of weird stuff. Full professors without a doctorate.

How is that even possible? Wouldn’t a competitively-advertised professorship attract PhDs from all over?

Good going Richard – not easy work going through the minefield that are Business Schools.

It would be worth stripping out the PhD students (e.g., I notice you do not count them for TCD but count them for DCU – the latter calls them postgraduate research scholars) and also take out the part-timers as they only tend to teach a few hours and have no research responsibilities (a good few here in DIT and DCU, whereas in other places they are not included).

Keep up the good work. Should also be interested to see Cork’s position (when you get some time). Also, what are the ranking of disciplines – is EcFin the top discipline?

@Eamon & @Richard Tol
“>> I came across all sorts of weird stuff. Full professors without a doctorate.

How is that even possible? Wouldn’t a competitively-advertised professorship attract PhDs from all over?”
I had a professor when I was at university who didn’t have a degree, never mind a PhD. He taught Imperialism and Nationalism in Sub-saharan Africa, among other things. His claim to fame? Aside from having been an administrator involved in decolonisation, he worked extensively with the UN on regime change (the democratic kind), administration, post-conflict resolution etc.

So, the answer is, if you want to attract real-life practitioners to education once they’ve finished their commercial careers, you’ll get a more diverse range of experience if you don’t place overt qualification limitations. I would have thought this particularly evident in Business and Finance. Would you refuse Richard Branson a professorship in entrepreneurial studies because all his doctorates are gifted? Does a PhD measure ability to teach? Is there any teaching qualification whatsoever? In addition to being places of research, these are also schools, right? Or are they just places of learning and not of teaching?

such expert practitioners are usually deemed to be Adjunct Professors and are used in most top Universities (especially in top Business Schools). As you say their role is teaching and learning, not necessarily research.

@hoganmahew: “Does a PhD measure ability to teach? ”

No. PhD is a research qualification only.

“Is there any teaching qualification whatsoever”

None mandated in any Irish third-level institute. There are generic, third-level teaching qualifications available – but pre-tenured lecturers would have to go back to being undergrads again! Imagine that – after you got your PhD! No thanks, very much. As for those already in-situ! Words fail me.

“In addition to being places of research, these are also schools, right? Or are they just places of learning and not of teaching?”

Research is a completely separate aspect. It has virtually nothing to do with teaching – except the odd lecture or two. Researchers specialize: they learn more-and-more abour less-and-less. Third-level teaching on the otherhand is a three part issue: 1. You have to be a scholar in your subject (very, very, very, well read!) Few of those about. You have to generic teaching skills, and musch more critically a set of subject specific teaching skills. Neither are easily acquired.

If your Reference Frame is that a PhD is mandatory for appointment as a third-level lecturer then you will never (well, almost) never appoint a skilled teacher who does not need a PhD – but must have a very wide knowledge-base, not only in her subject, but in other subjects as well. A properly qualifiied third-level teacher would be able to teach at least two – or better still three, different topics in their subject specialism.

Brian P

All anyone needs to know about Irish business schools is Anglo-Irish, Allied Irish Bank, BOI etc.

All anyone needs to know about Irish economics departments is that we have had the worst economic policy in the world for the last 10 years and hardly any economist opened their mouths.

The wierd stuff tag is sensational and misleading. Doing a PhD was not an absolute priority in the past, a professor may be appointed on his work, including research, with having obtained a PhD. Top UK schools have such people. As for post docs being better than lecturers this is not remarkable. Postdocs are not usual in business schools, people generally become lecturers. A lecturer with mixed duties will not have as many research outputs as a postdoc who is concentrating on research. Which illustrates the limitations of this kind of study. It lists cumulative output without reference to where this output was achieved. For an economist you might work with an ESRI type organisation for a long period, manage quite a lot of research output and then move to a university. You would have more papers than someone who had been teaching, running programmes etc as well as researching in the same period. So the cumulative total is not really a useful measure of ability to research, it simply illustrates the nature of your career.

@Tim O’Halloran: “we have had the worst economic policy in the world for the last 10 years and hardly any economist opened their mouths.”

You saw the thanks they got for it when they did – they’d have got less in the Galway Tent years.

Weird all right. 12 Full Professors who are double zeros –14%

Double Zero: No publications in recognized refereed journals and no citations. I’m wondering if that is an international record. Might be worth checking.

@dearg doom
The natural progression in a research-oriented environment is PhD -> Postdoc -> Lecturer. The averages do not reflect this sequence, which is indeed because there are a large number of lecturers in business schools who were appointed with only an MSc. That only happens when the head of department does not care about research.

@Tol The natural progression in a school of chemistry is PhD -> Postdoc -> Lecturer. The typical progression in a business school is MSc -> experience -> PhD -> lecturer. If you can show me a top UK school where most people have done postdocs then I’ll be happy to revise my opinion on this matter. There were large number of lecturers in business schools appointed with MScs this is not common nowadays, yet some of these people are at the top of your spreadsheet. The modern practice of appointing only people halfway through their careers has increased the average cost of faculty, which is proving a problem in present conditions.

@Brian Woods

My wife is a lecturer with a PhD – she has a couple of Masters degrees as well in addition to a professional membership – i.e. been in alot of academic institutions.

12 months ago she took a 1 year programme to get a certificate in teaching (cross departmental attendees) in her University – seems like it is recommended to get to senior lecturer level. Listening to her it was a pretty good programme with very clear objectives and well run – I couldn’t understand why the programme had not been offered to all new lecturers on joining the University as it developed additional competencies which may or may not have been picked up along the way. In addition she had to pay (get your money back when you get the cert) an overseas student rate in the University (they did admit this mistake and give back the difference v Irish student fee) to attend the course! Which reminds me I must ask her did she get the fee back.

p.s. lots of Business School Professors in World Top 10 ranked institutions dont have PhDs – they are referred to as Professors of Management Practice I think, places where considerable attention is placed on research too.

@Mark Dowling

Perhaps it requires too great a leap of the imagination for ye to realise how unbelievably smug these discussions of the worth of economic departments and business schools appear to those whose pensions are probably already f—ed and who go day to day worrying about when the axe will fall on their jobs.

The only discussion that should be going on here about Irish business schools is how far their graduates were responsible for the banking and property disaster (I am being generous here in assuming ignorance and stupidity was as much involved as willful fraud) and how this can be avoided in the future. Likewise the public funded academics in business schools should be explaining why they did not speak out. If their excuse is that they didn’t know there was a problem that is cause for concern as well.

As for looking for thanks, your wages paid for by the ordinary citizen are your thanks.

The best analogy I can make is that ye are like a gang of bricklayers discussing why nobody gives ye prizes while your last wall is about to tumble on top of ye.

I assume that your the comedian ToH? You seem to have a lot of anger…. Try looking beyond the monomanical point your making, time and again. For instance, if someone comes and does a masters and leaves, then what responsibility do they have to the irish state? As a frinstance.
to the issues
a) many of the professors here are of a very different generation to the others. At those times people didnt need a PhD to get into teaching. I didnt have one when I joined TCD in the 1990s. So some generational stratification would be needed for a complete analysis
b) IMHO you should be research active to be an effective third or fourth level instructor.
c) Barry T I think you may be confusing clinical with adjunct with fulltime staff. Clinical profs in bschools tend to be the people you mention. But they have different expectations on the teaching front, being hired to bring the top level real life stuff to the (usually MBA) clasroom. Adjuncts are different again, they are non-academics who are also involved in teaching and research but not on a fulltime basis.

The only criteria that should matter – to the extent that publications should matter – is refereed article in the top 3 or 4 journals (in the world) in a particular field. Publishing in low or medium quality journals should be actively discouraged – except for newcomers. Unfortunately, raw counts of the type here make no allowance for quality.

@Get Real
The proper measure of the quality of a paper is the number of times it was cited.

The name of the journal is irrelevant, because top journals publish loads of papers that are never used, while there is ample evidence that the review process is not necessarily impartial.

Hi Richard

Thanks for publishing my post. I am staying anonymous for reasons I won’t go into – so I appreciate that. I should say that I believe that you deserve great credit for compiling this list.

I agree with you that citations count. However, I think one should focus primarily on citations in the top journals. While the review process has flaws the best papers generally appear in the top journals. That’s why they are so highly ranked. There are exceptions, biases etc but it’s hard to argue with quality.

One can argue endlessly about journal rankings etc. But ignoring journal rankings completely adds to the quality problem. The main question is: how many Irish academics have pubished or have been cited in say the top 10 journals in a given discipline in the last 10 years? I think future versions of this list should give some weight to the journal quailty issue.
So I disagree 100% that “the name of the journal is irrelevant”

That’s my view – I commend you for your hard work and that’s my last contribution for what its worth!

I agree with Get Real. I work at a business school outside Europe.

The ONLY journals that count internationally are the top 3-5 journals in any business discipline — these are the top US journals. One article in the Journal of Finance would do more for an institutions reputation than 20 articles in lower level finance journals. Benchmarking against the regional UK universities is not helpful in this regard.

@Get Real & Business Academic
I disagree.

However, it is a trivial exercise to count the number of Irish publications in the top journals. Can you point to an accepted list?

Prof. Harzing compiles a list of lists here!

Clearly, there is no standard list but I think there is some general agreement across disciplines as to what the 10 journals in a given field are. If I had to go with one it would be either:
*Australian Business Deans Council 2010 or the
*British Association of Business Schools (ABS) Ranking 2010

As you say, citations are key as well.

Some effort by the Irish business academic community to give extra weight to ‘quality’ might avoid an overempahsis on ‘quantity’. Long term I believe it’s the former that counts.

I obviously agree with ‘Business Academic’ but maybe it’s better look at a top 10 rather than a top 3-5 in a discipline for now. Over time, we should be able to focus more on the top 3-5.

Definitely my last word Richard, and despite our disagreement on the ‘quality’ issue I respect your views and I commend you again for your hard work.

After the first spreadsheet was put on line I contacted the author privately and pointed two errors in counting the data on Scopus and though the file I downloaded this evening had those particular problems corrected, for one of the authors (me) lack of noting the first year of Scopus publication meant that a lot of calculations were left blank. Presumably this distorts the whole table .

The errors I spotted were revealed by me looking fairly casually at my own and some of my colleagues so I have got to suspect there might be more errors.

I easily found two counting errors in the first version on the table and reported them to the author even those two scholars’ details are still not complete in the version of the table I downloaded tonight.

The table still lacks any reference to UCC and the last discussion involved a confusion of two different institutions

Is it really useful to discuss the IMPLICATIONS of figures like these?

I’m in favour of trying to measure and provide explanations on how research funding is spent and how that might be improved. If we don’t this on the basis of seriously gathered and considered evidence we’re demonstrating that public money spent on ‘research’ may well be wasted.

Some regard to journal quality can be justified, if you can establish a credible basis for doing this. But there is a touch of snobbery in some of the most recent posts, with the idea that only output in a handful of journals is of any use and talk of regional UK universities. So called top journals may publish only enough papers in a year for 3% of international academics to appear in them and they are often something of circle closed to those in the know, to those in the US and to certain topics and research methodologies. There are academic outlets that lack credibility, but in the middle there is a substantial body of outlets where publication is useful.

It is reasonable that Irish universities are considered in terms of their broad contribution to their fields and it is perfectly reasonable to compare them to places like Lancaster or Warwick that may be regional in the UK, but who have made an excellent contribution to research. Irish universities will serve the country better if there are a range of staff research active in a range of fields rather than a handful of specialists who are well in with the editor of “top” journals.


By the top 4-5 journals that count I mean the ones that would count if you have to go up for tenure at, say, any of the top 200 schools in N. America. or, perhaps the top European or Asian schools that have adopted the US standards (HK-UST, the Singapore schools, Insead, LBS). You simply can’t build an international reputation in any business discipline unless your faculty hit these journals.

A lot of UK schools use the FT top 40 listing of journals — but this listing is a bit skewed towards UK journals. Heres a good listing for marketing:

In finance that the top journals are: J. of Finance, J. of Financial Economics, Review of Financial Studies, and Journal of Finance and Quantitative Analysis.

In Accounting: The Accounting Review, The journal of accounting research, and the journal of accounting and economics

But, unfortunately these journals would not be interested in Irish-specific policy issues. People should also have an incentive to study important Irish policy issues.

@Get Real
While I share Dearg’s concerns, I also know that snobbery is a large part of academic life.

As I said, it’s a trivial exercise (<10 min per field).

In the top 5 accounting journals (according to ABS), UC Cork appears once (1997, J Acc Res) through Peter Miller who has since left. The other institutions do not appear at all.


Yes, there certainly is a bit of snobbery to it, particularly from N. American business academics. But, business disciplines are much smaller then Economics. We really only have a small handful of journal — 3 to 5 — that have an impact. If you think of business disciplines like sub-disciplines like, say, labor economics, or law and econ then you see my point.

Also different from Econ is the relative dominance of the top US grad schools. N. American PhD programs and journals dominate business education to a much grater degree than they do in Econ. If you wanted an international reputation for an Irish school, then need to recruit US PhDs. That will cost you: you have to match US salaries.

I think you meant Ted O’Leary left UCC.

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