22 SES 03 A, Management and Governance in Higher Education
The paper explores accounts given by university leaders and their senior teams in UK universities about introducing cultural change to their institutions, the extent to which they act as change agents and their views on the policy levers which help to shape the organizational interventions of senior teams in higher education. For more than two decades, governments and policy makers both inside and outside Europe have been encouraging reform of public services through ideologically shaped approaches derived from the private sector , sometimes known as new managerialism (Deem and Brehony 2005). These approaches have encouraged the adoption of technologies of control (Keenoy and Reed 2008) over professionals such as audit, targets and performance management and have placed particular emphasis on cultural change alongside structural change (Taylor 2006). From the beginning of the 21st century onwards, new managerialism has been joined by what can be conceptualized as ‘leaderism’ (O'Reilly and Reed 2010), which also has ideological roots. In the context of the UK, ‘leaderism’ has been adopted by the New Labour government alongside a range of other features which gradually differentiated it from the Conservative administration which preceded it (Driver and Martell 2006). ‘Leaderism’ was particularly evident from 2001 onwards, as a key means of transforming public service organizations by means of charismatic leadership. New Labour has also introduced or encouraged the introduction of national leadership bodies for health and education that have been used to transmit the main tenets of transformational organizational leadership. The paper considers the extent to which university senior management teams in the UK have been influenced by leaderism, New Labour’s higher education reforms and programmes provided by the national leadership development body, the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, in providing leaders with particular conceptions of their activity as change agents. The extent to which European Commission and European Higher Education Area reforms have influenced respondents are also explored. The paper asks if there is evidence of UK universities responding to external forces in the way posited by neo-institutional theory (Dimaggio 2001) which suggests that organizations mimicking each other, adopting each others’ values or being coerced into change by external drivers, tend to become isomorphic (i.e alike) in organizational cultures as well as structurally. The paper also considers whether recent cultural and other changes to UK higher education have tended to move it away from something conceived of as a public service (Deem 2007) towards something closer to a private sector business and the extent to which cultural changes to UK higher education reflect policies of the European Higher Education Area.
Deem, R. (2007). Values, Public Service, the university and the manager-academic. Knowledge, Higher Education and the New Managerialism: The Changing Management of UK Universities. Ed R. Deem, S. Hillyard and M. Reed. Oxford, Oxford University Press: 160-190. Deem, R. and K. J. Brehony (2005). "Management as Ideology: the case of ‘new managerialism’ in Higher Education." Oxford Review of Education 31(2): 213-231. Dimaggio, P. (2001). The Twenty First Century Firm. Princeton, Princeton University Press. Driver, S. and L. Martell (2006). New Labour: Politics after Thatcherism. Cambridge, Polity Press. Enders, J. (2009). Global University Rankings and tthe Academic Reputation Race. Global Rankings and League Tables in Higher Education: promising, perilous or perverse. Bath, 13th November SRHE South West Higher Education Research Network, http://www.srhe.ac.uk/downloads/swrn-131109a.pdf. Keenoy, T. and M. Reed (2008). Managing modernization: introducing performance management in British universities. European universities in transition : issues, models and cases. Ed C. Mazza, P. Quattrone and A. Riccaboni. Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA, Edward Elgar Pub.: 188-205. Kehm, B. and U. Lanzendorf, Eds. (2006 ). Reforming University Governance: changing conditions for research in four European countries. Bonn, Lemmens/Verlag. O'Reilly, D. and M. Reed (2010). "‘Leaderism’: an evolution of managerialism in UK public service reform." Public Administration. Taylor, J. (2006). ""Big is Beautiful." Organisational change in universities in the United Kingdom: new models of institutional management and the changing role of academic staff. Higher Education in Europe." Higher Education in Europe, 31(3): 251-273.
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