Management researcher with 16 retractions has new professorship

Ulrich Lichtenthaler

Ulrich Lichtenthaler, a management professor who has had to retract 16 papers for data irregularities, has a new position in academia.

According to a news release from the International School of Management (ISM), a business school based in Germany, Lichtenthaler has been appointed Professor of Business Management and Entrepreneurship at the Cologne campus. Lichtenthaler is also taking over as one of the directors of the Entrepreneurship Institute at ISM, which conducts research in the field.

Lichtenthaler’s name may be familiar to readers: After journals retracted more than a dozen of his articles, he resigned from a previous post at the University of Mannheim in 2015.

We emailed Lichtenthaler to ask if he had disclosed his history to his new employers; he forwarded the email to ISM’s head of marketing and sales, who told us:

Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler has been appointed Professor at International School of Management (ISM), effective as of March 1st, 2018. The appointment is based on a due appointment process. This process is by standard subject to examination by the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. Prior discrepancies and retracted publications of Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler were known in advance to the appointment process.

In 2013, the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management, where he earned his PhD, withdrew Lichtenthaler’s teaching qualifications; we asked the ISM spokesperson if that affects his current position. She told us:

[ISM] is an application-focused University of Applied Sciences, putting emphasis on practice-oriented teaching. In this regard, Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler has specific expertise in business practice and high qualities in teaching.

She added:

ISM is a ’Fachhochschule’ (University of Applied Sciences), which is within the German educational system distinct from a ‘Universität’ (Research University). Appointment criteria for a ‘Fachhochschule’ as compared to a ‘Universität’ are primarily a PhD degree, experience in business practice and experience in teaching. A ‘Habilitation’ (Venia Legendi or Teaching License, as you referred to) is not required at a ‘Fachhochschule’.

His new appointment has caused some reactions; one commenter on a site about jobs in economics wrote:

holy s**t… wtf… fake or real?

When Joel West, a professor at the Keck Graduate Institute in Claremont, Calif., announced the appointment on Twitter, one reader said he was “gobsmacked.”

West told us that, since he learned about Lichtenthaler’s appointment, he’s heard a “range of reactions” from people in the field:

It’s just really frustrating. Even when you have a well document case of serial academic fraud, that it’s not disqualifying for another position in academia.

Lichtenthaler’s past caused some collateral damage: In 2015, one of his frequent co-authors and head of a department at WHU — Otto Beisheim School of Management was charged with “severe scientific misconduct” for not spotting many of the issues with Lichtenthaler’s work.

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3 thoughts on “Management researcher with 16 retractions has new professorship”

    1. It’s a private business school with a pretentious name that nobody has ever heard of. Academically these places are considered a joke over here. Depending on just what sort of business the students are aiming to work at the guy might be the perfect teacher though.

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