To read this content please select one of the options below:

Reorienting business education through the lens of Ernest Boyer

K. Doreen MacAulay (University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Mark J. Mellon (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
Walter R. Nord (University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 29 April 2020

Issue publication date: 26 May 2020




This article assesses the ability of Boyer's (1990) four-function definition of scholarship to address critiques of business schools. Boyer's definition of scholarship is presented as the foundation for a paradigmatic shift in higher education in business.


The authors developed this conceptual paper by considering information from three sources: 1) Ernest Boyer's Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate, 2) articles by four well-known pundits of business education as well as critiques appearing in the Academy of Management Learning and Education Journal and 3) articles in which Boyer's work was the focal point of the article found by searching Google Scholar, two well-known education journals, a prominent database of education articles and the International Handbook of Higher Education (Forest and Altbach, 2007).


A four-function framework based on Boyer's definition of scholarship is proposed to help improve the operations of business schools. The authors also forward ideological and practical implications related to each of Boyer's four functions.


For several decades now, a number of highly respected business scholars have criticized American business education in its current form. These criticisms, although plentiful, have not fueled the magnitude of change needed to have a significant, sustainable impact on business education. The authors suggest that this lack of change is due, in part, to institutional practices and to the absence of a unified framework for how higher education in business should be executed. The authors argue that Boyer's four-function definition of scholarship could provide such a framework.



The authors wish to acknowledge the helpful comments of Candice Hux, Pat Nickinson, and workshop participants at the 2019 MAC Accounting Research Symposium.


MacAulay, K.D., Mellon, M.J. and Nord, W.R. (2020), "Reorienting business education through the lens of Ernest Boyer", American Journal of Business, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 45-59.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles