The application of SOM as a decision support tool to identify AACSB peer schools

Melody Y. Kiang, Dorothy M. Fisher, Jeng Chung Victor Chen, Steven A. Fisher, Robert T. Chi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


For a business school, the selection of its peer schools is an important component of its International Association for Management Education (AACSB) (re)accreditation process. A school typically compares itself with other institutions having similar structural and identity-based attributes. The identification of peer schools is critical and can have a significant impact on a business school's accreditation efforts. For many schools the selection of comparable peer schools is a judgmental process. This study offers an alternative means for selection; a quantitative technique called Kohonen's Self-Organizing Map (SOM) network for clustering. In this research, we first demonstrate the capability of SOM as a clustering tool to visually uncover the relationships among AACSB-accredited schools. The results suggest that SOM is an effective and robust clustering method. Then, we compare the results of SOM with that of other clustering methods, such as K-means, Factor/K-means analysis, and kth nearest neighbor procedure. The objective of this study is to demonstrate that a two-dimensional SOM map can be used to integrate the results of various clustering methods and, thus, act as a visual decision support tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages9
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Apr

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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