Managerialism In The University

Here is an article that I think you will find interesting: “‘Cuckoo managers’ are throwing out academy traditions” (Times Higher Education, 21 May 2015).

The article correctly criticizes managerialism – what actually is better characterized as mismanagement of universities. However, it is unfortunate that academics generally have great difficulty discerning the difference between beneficial practices for managing organizations that come from outside of academia and destructive managerialism derived from poor corporate management practices. Their only improvement idea is to return to traditions while offering nothing to help correct managerialism.

It is akin to witnessing the misuse of a tool, such that it does harm, and then concluding that the tool cannot be used correctly. That is demonstrative of poor critical thinking.

On the bright side, see the article “Laurie Taylor on academics v administrators” (Times Higher Education, 28 May 2015). The second to the last paragraph nails it:

“Might not administrators improve their relationship if they presented themselves not as managers but as support staff to those upon the academic stage, as producers, property masters, scene setters, audience providers? What they must surely never do is to seek to occupy the stage themselves.”

Whether one works in a university as faculty or staff, or elsewhere in for-profit or non-profit corporations, employees greatly prefer servant leaders. That is a major differentiator between conventional management (people serve the leader) and Lean management (the leader serves the people).

Finally, here is a interesting article, “The commodification of higher education” (The Varsity, 20 May 2015) that zeroes in on a big negative impact of corporatization gone awry:

“Yet, given the increasing corporatization of tertiary education, the futures of university graduates do not seem to be nearly as important as securing future funding for the institutions themselves.”

Institutional self-interest is a clear and present danger to students and higher education.

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