Badly managed?

April 20, 2017

I very much support the idea of a National Senior Management Survey, and would hope that university managers might seek to address some of the problems uncovered (“Overpaid and overbearing: UK staff on management”, News, 30 March). I fear, though, that rushing to publish these interim results, when the survey is still open, may undermine its validity and reliability. Calling for more participants in these circumstances may leave the survey open to charges of confirmation bias. I am sure vice-chancellors of the “burning platform”/“weekend spent with my chainsaw” variety will gratefully take refuge in this opportunity.


Two comments. First, there is no definition provided of senior management. To an entry-level lecturer, a head of department may be thought of as such, whereas to others it may be faculty deans or pro vice-chancellors (who may not have line “management” but rather strategic leadership responsibilities). Second, the survey uses the phrases “my senior management” and “my senior managers” seemingly interchangeably. There is arguably a difference – the former may well be thought of as a relatively distant homogeneous entity, whereas the latter would (I suspect) suggest particular people with line management responsibilities for the respondent. I don’t understand the rationale for the different phrases (and none is given).


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