Bloch Scandal: Journal Backs Off Ranking

Henry Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri in Kansas City

Henry Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri in Kansas City

Officials with the Bloch School of Management and the University of Missouri have been desperately grasping at a straw, and now that straw is being pulled out of their hands. After the Princeton Review stripped Bloch of four years of rankings for its entrepreneurship program, school and university officials continued to claim that a highly dubious journal article that named Bloch and professor Michael Song tops in the world for innovation management education was valid.

Now, the editor at the Journal of Product Innovation Management is appending an “expression of concern” to the article – one step short of a retraction. Journal Editor Gloria Barczak notes in the expression of concern that an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that the authors of the article were visiting scholars at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, which they had not disclosed in the article or to the journal editors, and that Song “may have written parts related to the strategy portion of the paper beyond basic editing and grammatical changes.” The revelations, Barczak wrote, were the reason for the expression of concern.

Gloria Barczak, Journal of Product Innovation Management

Gloria Barczak, Journal of Product Innovation Management

Barczak also wrote that the journal editors were concerned by the university’s interpretation and use of the article. “JPIM does not endorse or agree with the statements and interpretation made by UMKC about their ranking in entrepreneurship or innovation, citing this article as evidence,” Barczak wrote. “The authors in the article simply found that scholars currently working at UMKC had the highest total number of articles published on innovation management of all universities with scholars publishing in innovation management, using the method they fully disclosed in the article.”

INTERPRETATION QUITE A STRETCH

To be fair to the school and university, the article itself serves up the grandiose interpretation of its results, titling its rankings “Top Innovation Management Scholars” and “Top Innovation Management Universities” – certainly a stretch considering that those findings were based solely on a count of published journal articles. A Kansas City Star investigation suggested that the journal authors, in counting articles, had cherry-picked a selection of journals and time-frame that favored Bloch and Song.

The rankings scandal has led to a profound shakeup at Bloch, with Song – who’d been making about $400,000 a year in salary – resigning, along with John Norton, a former non-tenured professor who told PwC he had submitted misleading data to the Princeton Review at Song’s direction.

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