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In the scholarly literature on the subject, the history of business education in the twentieth century has primarily been told as a story about the development of universities and business schools as degree-granting institutions. According to this narrative, business education at the university level came under strong pressure starting in the 1950s to become more academic and to transform itself from a practical to a scientific approach, in line with most other academic disciplines. A transformation did indeed take place in the United States as well as in many European countries. The Ford Foundation played a major role in pushing this change forward by initiating academic studies that legitimized the transformation, as well as by funding several projects in order to strengthen disciplines like mathematics, statistics, and organizational behavior in many of the best American business schools.
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