Leeds met: ideal attitudes

September 21, 2007

Leeds Metropolitan University has published a set of ideal staff "attitudes, characters and talents", which will be used in appraisals, recruitment and in setting performance-related pay.

Draft documents outlining the "Leeds Met ACTs" list examples of negative attitudes. Those who act like "prima donnas" or who refuse to accept the concept of "students as customer" are unlikely to earn "contribution points" boosting their pay.

Other examples of "negative behaviour" include: relying on a single method of communication; making decisions based on biased opinion rather than facts; creating "silos" in the team by focusing on own area of operation; and viewing the job as a means to an end.

The university's human resources department has drafted three documents describing positive and negative indicators attached to three areas of academic life: working with people; "student-centredness" and "future focus".

Union leaders have attacked the development.

"Universities are supposed to be the home of critical thinking and academic freedom, but corporate-speak like this flies in the face of that tradition," said a University and College Union branch spokesperson.

"Research on competency frameworks of this nature suggests that they usually end up as sticks to beat people with."

Leeds Met's director of human resources, Steve Pashley, said: "Leeds Met ACTs have been produced following extensive consul-tation with staff.

"This has, as part of our staff development programme, been an entirely open process and, from consultation, we knew that the majority of staff support the development of the framework and understand the benefits it will bring.

The university is to consult further with staff and trade unions before the introduction of ACTs at the end of the year.

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