Categories and Institutional Change: Contesting the Uncontested Space Through National Rankings

Syed Haider Khalil, Syed Mohsin Ali Shah, Fahad Sultan, Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, Sher Nawaz

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The current study aims to examine how and why actors contest the business education field through rankings. Inspired by the field structuration process and field level change, we argue that categorization systems, in this case, rankings, construct boundaries of the business education field and redefine authority and elites for the field. Ten highly ranked Pakistani business schools were selected through a purposive sampling method. For the thematic analysis adopted in the current study, we collected empirical evidence mainly through interviews with the directors of accreditation and ranking bodies, deans, and marketing directors of business schools. The interview data was also supplemented by secondary data such as internal student surveys, business school?s annual reports, and other relevant sources of data. The current study showed institutional work in the business education field. Through categorization systems, actors use their authority to challenge the existing social order and define the uncontested space of the business education field in developing countries. Actors then populate the uncontested space with new members thus legitimizing new rules and standards for the field and promoting new elites for the field thus creating new social order.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSAGE Open
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 14 Sept 2023


    • rankings
    • categorization
    • institutional work
    • business schools
    • field boundaries
    • higher education


    Dive into the research topics of 'Categories and Institutional Change: Contesting the Uncontested Space Through National Rankings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this