Genius envy

April 5, 2012

In her piece about the way in which academics allow their creativity to be controlled by unimaginative "bean counters" ("Creative vs accounting", 22 March), Amanda Goodall wonders how this hijack happened.

In 1954, J.A.C. Brown, the Freudian scholar, wrote in The Social Psychology of Industry: Human Relations in the Factory (in my opinion one of the best books written on occupational psychology): "We have seen that childhood conflicts and resentments against the father often show in later life as a hatred of all authority, or a hatred of what the father has supported." He goes on to say " that doctors with chronic skin diseases [are motivated] to become skin specialists...chronic neurotics to become psychiatrists, and those with some physical or mental trait which makes them feel inferior to become 'big bosses' ". When the inferiority has been deeply felt, "the individual is likely to overcompensate"; the neurotic psychologist is more likely "to project his own mental peculiarities on to his patients, and the leader who seeks power because he has a basic sense of inferiority to victimise those whom he has to lead".

May we therefore assume that the managerialists whom Goodall suggests are controlling academics are motivated by a desire to compensate for their own lack of intellectual credibility?

Mary Brown, Freelance education consultant, Banchory, Scotland

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

Felipe Fernández-Armesto takes issue with a claim that the EU has been playing the sovereignty card in Brexit negotiations

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

John McEnroe arguing with umpire. Tennis

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman explain how to negotiate your annual performance and development review

Man throwing axes

UCU attacks plans to cut 171 posts, but university denies Brexit 'the reason'

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald