institutional change, isomorphism, business schools, international accreditation, case studies


This paper studies the effects of gaining international accreditation in business schools (B-schools) in Lithuania. As in other CEE countries, in Lithuania international accreditation has recently become one of the key solutions to achieving legitimacy for B-schools. Due to the lack of research in this area, the aim of this paper is to explore and unveil the reasons for, and the consequences of the accreditation using an institutional theory framework. A multiple case study methodology is used to answer the research questions. The findings reveal that accreditation effects represent a case of institutional isomorphism, because B-schools seek accreditation to achieve legitimacy rather than improved performance. B-schools decide for accreditation and implement it mainly because of bandwagon effects and the reduction of information asymmetry – reasons which are accompanied by all three types of isomorphic change (coercive, mimetic, and normative). Based on the findings, the study concludes by suggesting propositions to be tested in future studies to further investigate this under-researched topic, especially in the CEE region.