Eclipsing adaptation: The translation of the US MBA model in China

Peter R Lamb, Graeme Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this article is to explore how business schools in China have acted upon calls for greater adaptation of the US MBA model. Scandinavian institutionalism's concept of translation as a process was employed to make sense of how such normative demands for translation have been accommodated across five case studies. Our findings demonstrate that the normative pressures for adaptation of the MBA on the basis of cultural relativism are not sufficient for significant adaptation. In contrast to other studies of the circulation of ideas and models we found that packaging changed slightly, but form and practice remained largely unchanged. Our conclusion is that the influence of market logic has eclipsed the normative calls for adaptation, resulting in the copying and adoption of the US MBA model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-230
Number of pages14
JournalManagement Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • business schools
  • China
  • diffusion
  • MBA
  • neo-institutional theory
  • translation

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