In this paper we provide an alternative explanation for the rise of modern management schools at the turn of the 20th century. We argue that these schools were not just responses of the higher education system to the demand of industrializing companies for a new class of professional managers, like Chandler suggests. Based on our historical research we found that the struggle for emancipation of the new professions (engineers and accountants) was the main driver for the founding of these schools. Management schools were viewed as the main vehicles to raise the social status of these new professions. To legitimize their position in the higher education system, abstraction appeared to be the dominant strategy of the professions. By abstraction they could distinguish themselves from the lay public and other professional groups in the domain of management. At the moment the new professions had a foot in the higher education system the engineers and the accountants contested for the new management domain. Abstraction appeared also the successful strategy of the accountants to distinguish themselves from the engineers and to establish a sound base for the development of the Dutch variant of business economics.

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Keywords business schools, higher education, history of business schools, hoger onderwijs, management education, professions
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van Baalen, P.J., & Karsten, L.. (2004). The Social Shaping of the early Dutch Management Schools - Professions and the power of Abstraction (No. ERS-2004-099-LIS). Retrieved from