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From Higher Aims to Hired Hands:
The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession
Rakesh Khurana

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"Khurana's is an insightful work of sociology and of history. It is about the business school's many transformations in relation to professions and disciplines; in relation to the changing face of capitalism through its progressive, depressive, managerial and investor phases; in relation to societal and industrial expectations; and in relation to public interest and self-interest."--Malcolm Gillies, Times Higher Education

"Khurana's meticulously researched account ends with a call for renewal of the idea of management as a profession. . . . Coming as it does out of Harvard, the most iconic of business schools, From Higher Aims . . . could hardly be a more provocative and timely intervention. . . . Anyone remotely interested in management and its future should get hold of it--and ignore its lessons at their peril."--Simon Caulkin, Observer

"Khurana's From Higher Aims to Hired Hands is an important and surprisingly disparaging look at business-school education in the U.S. from the late 19th century to the present....In the new volume, he strikes closer to home, concluding that 'fundamental questions exist as to whether business schools retain any genuine academic or societal mission'...As Khurana supplies layer upon layer of evidence in this admittedly dense work, it becomes increasingly difficult to disagree with his conclusions."--Hardy Green, BusinessWeek

"Khurana presents his argument in rich detail and the book is worth reading by anyone interested in the current trends in the commercialization of academia."--Donald Stabile,

"Rakesh Khurana's sweeping history of American business schools offers a bold overview and a moral message."--Neil Fligstein, American Historical Review

"Khurana's criticism is measured--and is the more damning for it. His book is an impressive tour of the social and intellectual history of American university business schools...Drawing on rich archive material, Khurana traces how the fledgling American business schools confronted these challenges with varying strategies during the early 1900s and the Depression, the postwar boom years and recent decades of freewheeling capitalism. The book is, however, more than just an historical odyssey; it is also a heartfelt plea for business schools to rediscover their higher purpose. The university-based business schools were founded to train a professional class of managers akin to doctors and lawyers. But, he argues forcefully, they have retreated from that goal."--Des Dearlove, Times (London)

"Rarely does one have the pleasure of reading a scholarly work as complete and as comprehensive as From Higher Aims to Hired Hands. Khurana presents a well-crafted social history of the plight of business school education in the context of a broader framework of American higher educationŠKhurana exposes inadequacies in current business education programs and advocates for needed reforms."--J.B. Kashner, Choice

"This is a powerful, compelling, and well-researched narrative. . . . Far from a nihilistic rant about the state of American business education, Khurana paints a sympathetic but critical portrait of what this education has become."--Kevin T. Leicht, Journal of Higher Education

"It is not uncommon today for critics to ask if business schools have lost their way, but Harvard's Rakesh Khurana poses the question against such a vivid, detailed, and compulsively researched historical background that it becomes more provocative than ever."--Biz Ed Magazine

"Khurana has produced an excellent institutional history, albeit one in which many of the ingredients were already well-known from earlier accounts. . . . However, these separate accounts had not been stitched together over such a broad canvas as Khurana constructs. The book should be compulsory reading for all Deans of business schools with a concern to learn from history."--Stewart Clegg, Australian Review of Public Affairs

"In From Higher Aims to Hired Hands, Khurana, a management professor at the Harvard Business School best known for his writing on leadership, has produced an instant classic. . . . [I]t is an evenhanded, comprehensive, and exhaustively documented work demonstrating how the history of the American business, reflecting the evolution from 19th-century entrepreneurial capitalism to mid-20th-century managerial capitalism to today's investor capitalism. Criticisms of today's business schools abound, but Khurana provides the historical perspective needed to understand how those institutions became what they are."--Strategy + Business

"[U]ntil the publication of From Higher Aims to Hired Hands, nobody had provided such a detailed historical survey leading to conclusions of great significance for American academia and, implicitly, for American corporations. . . . Khurana's book will no doubt continue to stimulate debate on both sides of the Atlantic about both managerial professionalism and the role business schools ought to play in a modern, knowledge-based society."--John Wilson, Business History Review

"From Higher Aims to Hired Hands provides an invaluable resource for those of us attempting to understand how the university continues to be shaped and transformed by a confluence of economic forces and political interests. For this reason, Khurana's book deserves to be widely read within academia, in the business school and beyond."--Nick Butler, Ephemera

"[W]hether or not one agrees with the author's argument as to what went wrong and how it might have gone right, this is a highly important work that should be read by anyone with either an interest in the history of American business schools and American management, or a concern for their future roles in our society."--Richard Marens, Eastern Economic Journal

"The book is an impressive and thouroughly researched work reviewing the social history of American business education."--Andrew May, Professional Manager

"Not only is this book fully documented and well-written, but its author also achieves here a truly complete social science analysis. . . . It is a pleasure to discover such a meticulous work that is not only methodologically strong but is also conceptually powerful. The quality of this historical work is enriched by its developments in social sciences which allow an exceptional production. . . . [T]he work done here by Khurana remains both strong and riveting."--Yoann Bazin, Society and Business Review


"I have been waiting for years for someone to write the definitive institutional history of U.S. management education, and this is it. From the standpoint of most analytic definitions of 'professional,' the term 'professional manager' is enigmatic, even oxymoronic. Rakesh Khurana's thorough, insightful, provocative, and courageous history of business education explains how this term came to make practical and cultural sense to a generation of Americans, and how its logic has been undermined in the past thirty years. From Higher Aims to Hired Hands is an exemplary work of institutional analysis, combining first-rate historiography with outstanding social-science scholarship. It will be essential reading for business historians, students of management and organizations, and faculty, administrators, and thoughtful students at America's business schools."--Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University

"From Higher Aims to Hired Hands is a tour de force. With profound depth and sweeping scope, Rakesh Khurana analyses the rise and potential fall of a uniquely American institution--one that has influenced management education throughout the world. His book contributes significantly to explaining how managerial capitalism could go awry and how to restore the moral underpinnings that would make management the profession of leadership. In addition to offering fascinating history lessons based on exhaustive research, Khurana adds new twists to institutional theory and points to future directions for educational practice."--Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School, author of The Change Masters, Confidence, and America the Principled: 6 Opportunities for Becoming a Can-Do Nation Once Again

"This panoramic portrait of the origins and ramifications of American business education is quite remarkable, rich in detail, powerful in the marshaling of evidence, and provocative in its claims. Khurana writes with confidence, authority, and erudition."--Walter Powell, Stanford University

"This is a wonderful and important book for anyone interested in business education. There is a tendency for those of us involved in business education to think that we understand the dynamics of our industry and that there is little new that we can learn. How wrong such a judgment would be. In providing a sociological understanding of the origins of business education and the professionalization of management, this book prompts deep reflection about the state of management today and offers real insight into the challenges of elevating the standards of this particular profession."--Joel Podolny, dean of Yale School of Management

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File created: 4/21/2017

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