> Key Distinctives
Distinctive Characteristics of the IACBE
There are several distinctive characteristics of the IACBE and its quality assurance process that make it a clear leader in specialized programmatic accreditation for collegiate business education around the world. These are:
- The IACBE's Philosophy of Accreditation
- Mission-Driven Accreditation
- Outcomes-Based Quality Assurance in a Deming-Porter Framework
- Emphasis on Continuous Improvement Based on the Deming Cycle of TQM
- Characteristics of Excellence in Business Education
- The IACBE's Approach to Accreditation
The IACBE's Philosophy of Accreditation
It is the philosophy of the IACBE that academic quality and excellence in business education should be measured in terms of the performance of an academic business unit rather than in terms of academic resource levels. Although adequate quantitative and qualitative levels of human, financial, and physical resources are essential contributing factors to academic quality, the focus should be on the value of those resources in producing measurable results. Therefore, the IACBE implements an accreditation process that focuses on the outcomes of the teaching/learning process rather than on prescriptive input standards. This emphasis on performance is integral and fundamental to the entire quality assurance process of the IACBE. For more information, see Philosophy of Accreditation.
The IACBE defines academic quality in terms of the overall level of performance of an academic business unit. Since the mission of the academic business unit drives its decision making and the determination of its goals and objectives, the IACBE implements an accreditation process in which academic quality is evaluated within the framework of the academic business unit’s mission. Furthermore, since the mission of an academic business unit is in part shaped by the educational, historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, and organizational environments in which it operates, the IACBE does not prescribe specific elements that should comprise the academic business unit’s mission. Therefore, an academic business unit determines its own mission, consistent with that of its parent institution, that best guides its decision making for the future and that is most appropriate for the environmental settings in which it operates.
Outcomes-Based Quality Assurance in a Deming-Porter Framework
The IACBE's approach to accreditation is based on a W. Edwards Deming-Michael Porter framework for quality assurance. In this approach, the IACBE focuses on the extent to which an academic business unit achieves its intended student learning and operational outcomes, i.e., on its overall level of performance. This emphasis on outcomes is not simply an overlay or an addition to prescriptive threshold standards for academic inputs. Rather, it provides the basis for the IACBE’s evaluation of academic quality, and it infuses and is central to the IACBE’s entire accreditation process. For more information on the Deming-Porter framework for IACBE accreditation, see Quality Assurance.
Emphasis on Continuous Improvement Based on the Deming Cycle of TQM
The IACBE's accreditation criteria – our "Accreditation Principles" – require an academic business unit to use the results from implementing its assessment process to identify changes and improvements needed in its business programs, processes, and activities, and to develop strategies for making those changes and improvements. In other words, the IACBE implements a developmental accreditation process based on a quality management systems (QMS) framework that emphasizes efforts to improve the overall effectiveness of the academic business unit based on the Deming cycle of continuous quality improvement. In addition, the IACBE’s accreditation process involves the connection of outcomes assessment with the strategic planning processes of the academic business unit and its parent institution. This explicit linkage of assessment and strategic planning provides an effective integrated system for continuous improvement in the academic business unit’s programs and operations. For more information on the IACBE's emphasis on continuous improvement, see Continuous Quality Improvement and the Deming Cycle.
Characteristics of Excellence in Business Education
The mission of the IACBE is to promote and recognize excellence in business education in institutions of higher education throughout the world. In order to advance this mission, the IACBE has defined seventeen explicit “Characteristics of Excellence in Business Education,” which have been identified by the IACBE as being important in demonstrating academic quality and operational effectiveness, and have been shown to be elements of high-quality business programs and highly-performing academic business units. In addition, these characteristics apply across a wide variety of educational, historical, cultural, legal/regulatory, and organizational environmental settings. Furthermore, the IACBE’s Accreditation Principles, which represent its evaluative criteria for accreditation, are based on and derived from these Characteristics of Excellence in Business Education. For more information, see Excellence in Business Education.
The IACBE's Approach to Accreditation
The IACBE takes a developmental approach to accreditation and the implementation of its quality assurance process. The IACBE and its members work together in a collaborative and cooperative manner to achieve excellence in business education. It is the commitment of the IACBE to be a full and supportive partner with its members in shared and mutual efforts toward continuous improvement and higher levels of academic quality in business education. For more information, see The IACBE's Value Proposition.