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The response of German business schools to international accreditation in global competition

Hongmei Sziegat (University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 8 June 2021

Issue publication date: 27 September 2021




This study aims to reflect how German business schools respond to the diffusion of the triple accreditation: AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System), and AMBA (Association of MBAs).


This study applies a multiple case study to conduct a qualitative analysis of perceived drivers, value and limitations of AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA accreditation in German business schools.


International accreditation is a seal of excellence for business schools to enhance international competitiveness and global networking, providing evidence of quality, performativity, transparency and accountability for stakeholders. International accreditation offers business schools international comparability and compatibility. International accreditation adds value and benefits to business schools. However, business schools may prioritize institutional strategies and resources to meet the requirements of international accreditations rather than a broader concept of good governance. Business schools should critically review their decisions on international accreditations in line with institutional strategic goals, mission, vision, core values and sustainable development.

Research limitations/implications

This study only focuses on international accreditations of German business schools. Further studies may focus on comparisons of national and international accreditations, impacts of international accreditation and perceptions of international accreditation from policymakers, accreditation bodies, academics and students.

Practical implications

This study offers guidance for the strategic decision-making of business schools on international accreditations, valuable feedback to international accreditation agencies and a reference for quality assurance practitioners, policymakers and accreditation bodies.

Social implications

This study discusses the social-cultural impacts of international accreditation and accreditation discrimination arising from the selectivity and the exclusivity of international accreditation. International accreditation may further enlarge their comparative advantages over non-accredited schools. International accreditation adds value and benefits to accredited business schools but puts non-accredited business schools in disadvantageous positions.


Business schools need to critically review their institutional strategies and decisions on international accreditation in line with institutional strategic goals, mission, vision, core values and sustainable development. The rational decision of business schools to adopt international accreditation should consider drivers, value, benefits, limitations, organizational effectiveness, transparency, social responsibility and accountability for all stakeholders. Business schools need to take effective strategies to ensure a higher quality of management education through high-quality teaching and good governance. When single accreditation is sufficient, promoting mutual recognition is advisable rather than the “beauty contests” of multiple accreditations at the national and international levels.



Sziegat, H. (2021), "The response of German business schools to international accreditation in global competition", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 29 No. 2/3, pp. 135-150.



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