On professors' lack of leadership and logic (1 of 3)

November 24, 2011

It was with interest we read Jack Grove's article reflecting on Linda Evans' research on professorial leadership ("'Prima donna' professors lambasted for failure to mentor", 17 November). The results are no surprise to many of us working in business schools, where myopic management often appoints and promotes staff to chair level based on how closely staff can be aligned to a "4x4*" profile (four 4* publications in the REF period), using the Association of Business Schools Journal list. Regrettably, obsession with having such a mechanism of technocratic quantification has overtaken qualitative assessments of the broader contribution that scholars make to their field of study when determining chair appointments.

It is thus no wonder that there are perceptions that some professors are "not team players": the system rewards those whose primary obsession is with fulfilling these metrics rather than those who either contribute the "big ideas" or provide meaningful leadership and support for their colleagues. It is probably more surprising that as few as 53 per cent noted such an absence. It is crucial that focus is not placed on the professors who are perceived to have failed to lead, but to refocus on the ultra-managerialist system that has led us into this position where developing collegiality and contribution to the field are increasingly secondary considerations at best.

Jimmy Donaghey, Warwick Business School

Martin Parker, Warwick Business School

Hugh Willmott, Cardiff University Business School

David Harvie, University of Leicester School of Management

Juliane Reinecke, Warwick Business School

Damian O'Doherty, Manchester Business School

Jonathan Davies, Leicester Business School

Melanie Simms, Warwick Business School

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