The portrayal of the future as legitimacy construction: discursive strategies in highly ranked business schools’ external communication – new article

Zsuzsanna Géring, Réka Tamássy, Gábor Király and Márton Rakovics published a new article in Higher Education, one of the highest ranked scientific journals in the field of higher education research.

In the paper Géring, director of Future of Higher Education Research Centre, and her colleagues investigate how highly ranked business schools construct their legitimacy claims by analysing their online organisational communication.

The researchers argue that in the case of higher education institutions in general, and business schools in particular, the discursive formation of legitimacy claims is strongly connected to the future. Therefore, in the research they approach highly ranked business schools’ website communication with corpus-based discourse analysis, particularly focusing on sentences containing the expression ‘future’.

Regarding their findings, Géring and colleagues first present the future-related language use to reveal the general future picture in the corpus. Then, as the outcome of qualitative and quantitative textual analysis, they identify six typical agency frames (i.e., preparing, shaping, adjusting, exploring, personal future, responsibility) about the future. By examining the co-occurrence of these frames, the researchers were able to identify different discursive strategies of business higher education. Finally, connecting their findings to general societal phenomena the researchers could interpret how business schools utilise these discursive strategies to (re)create and maintain their legitimacy.

We encourage everyone to read the full, open access article here.