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Contextual and linguistic challenges for French business schools to achieve international accreditation: experts as boundary-spanners

Mary Vigier (Department of Humanities, Organization and Management, ESC Clermont Business School, Clermont-Ferrand, France)
Michael Bryant (Department of Humanities, Organization and Management, ESC Clermont Business School, Clermont-Ferrand, France)

Critical Perspectives on International Business

ISSN: 1742-2043

Article publication date: 3 January 2022

Issue publication date: 5 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the contextual and linguistic challenges that French business schools face when preparing for international accreditation and to shed light on the different ways in which experts facilitate these accreditation processes, particularly with respect to how they capitalize on their contextual and linguistic boundary-spanning competences.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors interviewed 12 key players at four business schools in France engaged in international accreditations and in three specific categories: senior management, tenured faculty and administrative staff. The interview-based case study design used semi-structured questions and an insider researcher approach to study an underexplored sector of analysis.

Findings

The findings suggest that French business schools have been particularly impacted by the colonizing effects of English as the mandatory language of the international accreditation bodies espousing a basically Anglophone higher education philosophy. Consequently, schools engage external experts for their contextual and linguistic boundary-spanning expertise to facilitate accreditation processes.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to language-sensitive research through a critical perspective on marginalization within French business schools due to the use of English as the mandatory lingua franca of international accreditation processes and due to the underlying higher-education philosophy from the Anglophone academic sphere within these processes. As a result, French business schools resort to external experts to mediate their knowledge and competency gaps.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “Critical Perspectives on Language in International Business”, guest edited by Claudine Gaibrois, Philippe Lecomte, Mehdi Boussebaa and Martyna Sliwa.

The authors would like to thank the 12 participants at the four schools investigated who generously shared their time and insights with us. They are also sincerely grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their extensive comments, suggestions and recommendations, as well as to two of the Special Issue guest editors, Professor Dr Martyna Śliwa and Dr Philippe Lecomte, for their support in shaping the final version of this article.

Citation

Vigier, M. and Bryant, M. (2023), "Contextual and linguistic challenges for French business schools to achieve international accreditation: experts as boundary-spanners", Critical Perspectives on International Business, Vol. 19 No. 1, pp. 70-89. https://doi.org/10.1108/cpoib-06-2020-0080

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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