‘The smell of the place’: Managerialist culture in contemporary UK business schools

Glauco De Vita, Peter Case

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


By introducing an intentionally provocative critique of managerialist regimes which typify contemporary UK business school culture, we argue that current business school management practices generate a climate of mistrust and alienation amongst academics. Such a climate is not conducive to a reformative agenda that business schools should be pursuing if they are to improve staff morale and the educational environment. Drawing on Ghoshal's ‘smell of the place’ metaphor to structure this argument, we court deliberate irony and paradox. Rather than draw on heterodox theory to inform our critique we, instead, turn relatively mainstream management and organization theory against itself. Our argument is that even when examined through orthodox lenses, managerialist practices are found wanting and contradict the precepts of much mainstream normative theory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-364
Number of pages17
JournalCulture and Organization
Issue number4
Early online date23 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Culture and Organization on 23/10/14 available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14759551.2014.971122

Copyright © and Moral Rights are retained by the author(s) and/ or other copyright owners. A copy can be downloaded for personal non-commercial research or study, without prior permission or charge. This item cannot be reproduced or quoted extensively from without first obtaining permission in writing from the copyright holder(s). The content must not be changed in any way or sold commercially in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders.


  • BUSINESS schools
  • Culture
  • Ghoshal
  • Higher Education
  • Managerialism
  • Metaphor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)

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