A mismanaged performance? 3

April 20, 2007

There are two good practical reasons for objecting to the consumerisation, marketisation and managerialisation of higher education.

One is to be found in the work of the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre ("the kind of knowledge required to sustain managerial efficiency doesn't exist... What we are oppressed by is not power but impotence").

The other, known by anyone who sticks at a task for a number of years but widely disregarded by managers, is that creativity in all fields of human endeavour is the result of consistent application in a universe that is orderly.

Like all human skills, education and research have their own self-organised structure and ethos in which the aim is improvement of practice. This can be facilitated but not managed.

Constant interference in the practice of a skill is distracting and destructive. The consequences, where not simply demoralisation, may well be superficial innovation, but they are unlikely to be genuine improvement.

Wendy Wheeler
London Metropolitan University

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