January 3, 2011
The development of accreditation agencies within the Higher Education sector in order to assess and guarantee the quality of services or product is still a growing phenomenon in Europe. Accreditations are conceived by institutional authors and by authors who directly deal with quality assurance processes as a means of legitimization or a means of differentiation and grading which reduces the uncertainty that characterizes the market of institutions and diplomas. By doing so, such authors do not put the light on the concrete, local and political consequences of the implementation of accreditation processes within the concerned institutions. They thus do not take into account a major effect of the accreditation. Indeed the main consequence of such an implementation is an internal one. By focusing on the implementation of the three main accreditation processes of Business schools and programmes (AACSB, EQUIS and AMBA) within three French "Grandes Écoles" and three English Business Schools, I show that accreditations are first and foremost used by the local Deans of the Business Schools where accreditation processes are implemented. They are used as management tools of a special kind; their implementation results in the progressive consolidation of the institutional position of the Deans within their universities.