Well-known benefits in team playing

April 28, 1995

Martin Harris (THES April 21) concluded "sharing of information with all members of the community. . . can seemingly only be achieved in large and complex organisations in ways which are inherently flawed and of limited benefit" having earlier asserted that "the entirely reasonable demand to be told what is going on can only in reality be met by direct communication to all involved".

Both statements are wrong. The problem of effective workplace communication was addressed years ago; both the private sector and the public sector use a variety of systems and procedures such as team briefing, a proven system of workplace communication operated by line managers. Organisations which adopt such systems wholeheartedly invariably benefit; there is no reason why a university should not benefit similarly (even one which still clings obstinately to the myth that it is or should be a collegiate organisation).

Of course, for such systems to work, department heads and others in "middle management" have to behave like line managers rather than lords to their own feifdoms, monopolising and distorting information to suit their own ends. Consequently, senior management must take steps to ensure that messages are transmitted faithfully, in both directions.

In addition, senior management have a duty to act swiftly, and possibly ruthlessly, when there is evidence (however unpalatable) that department heads have lost the confidence and respect of those they supervise.

BILL BARLOW Forfar, Angus

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

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns