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

Featured Jobs

Assistant Recruitment - Human Resources Office

University Of Nottingham Ningbo China

Outreach Officer

Gsm London

Professorship in Geomatics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Professor of European History

Newcastle University

Head of Department

University Of Chichester
See all jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

sitting by statue

Institutions told they have a ‘culture of excluding postgraduates’ in wake of damning study

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate