Laurie Taylor column

September 23, 2005

"Managers seek cure for staff cynicism" - Times Higher , September 16

From: Jamie Targett, Director of Corporate Development

The Universities Personnel Association is considering the problem of staff cynicism. Although the University of Poppleton is now largely a positive goal-oriented work environment, there are signs that residual negative attitudes towards management may be acting as an impediment to the realisation of strategic objectives. Nowhere is this more evident than in some of the responses to the recent anonymous questionnaire on staff satisfaction. Overall, this survey indicated that a significant proportion of the staff was "reasonably satisfied" with Poppleton's management strategy but there were a few troubling examples of unacceptable cynicism.

So that staff may become familiar with such dysfunctional negativity, I am enclosing sample answers from completed questionnaires.

Q14. How would you characterise the v-c's leadership?

A. "Two sandwiches short of a picnic"; "A handle short of a suitcase".

Q24. How would you characterise your own commitment to this university's goals?

A. "Sorry if I looked interested. I'm not"; "Are you confusing me with someone who cares?"

Q26. How would you characterise the Poppleton University community?

A. "If idiots could fly, this would be an airport."

Q56. How would you characterise the work of the Director of Corporate Development?

A. "He must have got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn't looking"; "Is he depriving a village of an idiot?"

Q63. How would you characterise the fit between this university's strategic goals and the nature of the future academic environment?

A. "Strong drink is the answer. I don't remember the question."

These are the type of sentiments that must be eradicated if we are to achieve a win-win situation going forward. Freedom of speech is one thing but freedom to speak freely is quite another. I hope this clarifies the situation.

Jamie Targett, MBA (Uttoxeter) MBA (Old Sarum) MBA (Tesco Metro).

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