The Performance Paradox: How Business Schools Fall Short and What to Do about it


  • Hugh M. Cannon Wayne State University (emeritus)
  • James N. Cannon Utah State University
  • Bryon C. Geddes LDS Business College
  • J. Alexander Smith Oklahoma City University


Notwithstanding the apparent success of modern management education and predictions of increasing demand for business school graduates, the educational product has been subject to considerable criticism. We refer to this as the “performance paradox.” If market forces attest to both the demand for and apparent success of business school graduates, why has the educational product been subject to so much criticism? In our effort to address the paradox, we focus on three separate but related points of attack: First, we ask whether the value of a business degree can be attributed primarily to the signal it provides to potential employers rather than the value of the education itself. Second, we consider the suitability of current curricular content and pedagogy for addressing the needs of modern management. And third, we evaluate the ability of metrics commonly used to determine whether a management education program is successful. We conclude that, as a whole, business schools fall short with respect to each of these criteria. We discuss why this might be the case and suggest what business schools might do to improve the quality of their offerings.






Innovations and Future Directions in Education