Simplified: the conflict at McMaster's business school

McMaster’s Degroote School of Business is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The faculty’s tradition of infighting is being aired publicly following a report issued by the university’s Office of Human Rights and Equity Services.

Basically, there are two factions among the business school faculty – those of an academic (Ph.D) background without extensive industry experience and those from a more practical/applied background. The two sides distain each other believing that the other’s vision of how a business school should operate is flawed.

The dean, Paul Bates, falls into the practical/applied background category. Mr. Bates is extremely accomplished in the business world, but does not hold an undergraduate degree. This is a sin that academics cannot forgive. Since day one, there has been a faction which has refused to work with Mr. Bates.

This conflict has spread to all aspects of the faculty’s operations. When one of the professors from an practical background was up for tenure, the professors from the other faction fought to stop the award of tenure.  All out war was openly declared between the two factions. The McMaster University Faculty Association had to get involved.

The fight in the business school is a very unprofessional method of conducting the ongoing debate about what business education should entail and who would be doing the teaching.

Don’t expect current McMaster president Peter George to step in and end the battle. He’s soon to retire and this fight didn’t reach this stage overnight and will not be solved quickly.

All I can say is good luck Patrick Deane, I bet you didn’t sign up for this.