Change at any cost

July 9, 2015

PA Consulting Group must have been delighted at having its recent report described without comment or alternative views (“V-cs wanting to lead from the front are frustrated by a lack of followers”, News, 18 June). In addition, one of the report’s co-authors, Mike Boxall, had a letter (“Relevance is paramount”) published in the same issue making the same points about perceived resistance to change and complacency in UK universities.

Regardless of the accuracy of its survey of vice-chancellors, PA Consulting has a clear interest in encouraging change in universities whatever its value. Can we imagine the group reporting anything that would suggest no need for change? Innovation may well be required, but we cannot trust those calling for it when they have such a big financial stake in its promotion. Consultants and others with a pro-innovation bias are inclined to create “burning platforms” for change to help to support their business. The article and letter are good examples of this standard consulting rhetoric. An alternative, or complementary, view would be to explore those many changes under way that are detrimental to UK higher education, or at least seek a more independent view.

Andrew Sturdy
Department of management
University of Bristol

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 6 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

question marks PhD study

Selecting the right doctorate is crucial for success. Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman share top 10 tips on how to pick a PhD

Pencil lying on open diary

Requesting a log of daily activity means that trust between the institution and the scholar has broken down, says Toby Miller

India, UK, flag

Sir Keith Burnett reflects on what he learned about international students while in India with the UK prime minister

Application for graduate job
Universities producing the most employable graduates have been ranked by companies around the world in the Global University Employability Ranking 2016
Construction workers erecting barriers

Directly linking non-EU recruitment to award levels in teaching assessment has also been under consideration, sources suggest