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Management as ideology: the case of ‘new managerialism’ in higher education
Rosemary Deem*a and Kevin J. Brehonyb
of Bristol, UK;
of Roehampton, UK
RosemaryDeem 0 2 School 00000June of EducationUniversity 2005 of BristolHelen Wodehouse Building, 35 Berkeley SquareBristolBS8 1JAUKr.email@example.com Oxford 10.1080/03054980500117827 CORE111765.sgm 0305-4958 Original Taylor 2005 31 & and Review Article Francis (print)/1547-6545 Francis ofLtd Education Ltd (online)
The paper explores ideological conceptions of management, especially ‘new managerialism’, with particular reference to their role in the reform of higher education. It is suggested that attempts to reform public services in general are political as well as technical, though there is no single unitary ideology of ‘new managerialism’. Whilst some argue that managers have become a class and have particular interests, this may not be so for all public services. The arguments presented are illustrated by data taken from a recent research project on the management of UK higher education. It is suggested that managers in public service organisations such as universities do not constitute a class. However, as in the case of manager-academics, managing a contemporary public service such as higher education may involve taking on the ideologies and values of ‘new managerialism’, and for some, embracing these. So management ideologies do seem to serve the interests of manageracademics and help cement relations of power and dominance, even in contexts like universities which were not traditionally associated with the dominance of management.
Introduction In this paper we explore conceptions of management, especially ‘new managerialism’, as ideology, with particular reference to their role in the reform of UK higher education. Our arguments are illustrated by examples drawn from a recent research project on the management of UK universities, focusing on the extent to which concepts of management as ideology figure in the accounts of practice and values given by academics holding management roles. We are specifically interested in the phenomenon that has been labelled ‘new managerialism’ (Clarke & Newman, 1994, 1997; Clarke et al., 2000) and cognate concepts such as ‘new public management’ (Hood, 2000). It has been suggested that these phenomena have led to considerable deliberate organisational and cultural change in public service organisations in the West
* Graduate School of Education, Helen Wodehouse Building, 35 Berkeley Square, University of Bristol, BS8 1JA, UK. Email: R.Deem@bristol.ac.uk ISSN 0305-4985 (print)/ISSN 1465-3915 (online)/05/020217–19 © Taylor & Francis Group Ltd DOI: 10.1080/03054980500117827
218 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony (Ferlie et al., 1996; Clarke & Newman, 1997; Exworthy & Halford, 1999). However, as we shall see, the question of whether or not the phenomenon of ‘new managerialism’ or its alternate conception of ‘new public management’, can be described as ideological, is highly controversial (Farrell & Morris, 2003; Pollitt ,2003). Ideology as a concept is neither monolithic nor unified (Paterson, 2003) and there are long standing debates about it. Here we focus mainly on debates that are relevant to our analysis of ‘new managerialism’ and higher education. What follows is a short discussion of ideology as a concept, after which we examine debates about ‘new managerialism’ and ‘new public management’, the case for ‘new managerialism’ to be considered as an ideology, and the extent to which such an ideology serves the needs and interests of managers in public services such as education. Next we consider the extent to which an illustrative empirical study of UK university management confirms the case for regarding ‘new managerialism’ as an ideology that has permeated UK publicly funded higher education. Using universities as a site for exploring concepts of ideology is surprisingly rare: ‘The literature which seeks to understand the university has—with just one or two exceptions—fought shy of tackling the concept of ideology’ (Barnett, 2003) p. 52. This is despite a growing literature discussing ideas about what constitutes a university in an era of notions of relativism and post-modernism (Readings, 1996; Barnett, 1999; Delanty, 2001; Fuller, 2002). What is ideology? Although eclipsed somewhat in recent years by the Foucauldian concept of discourse, the concept of ideology still continues to occupy a central place in the social sciences. However, the contested nature of the concept, its elusiveness (Larrain, 1979) and the aporia associated with it, mean that whenever it is used, it is subject to objection and refutation. Almost the only proposition that writers agree on is ideology’s concern with configurations of ideas. We therefore propose to carefully define our use of the concept. Ideology is sometimes conceived of as a negative concept and it can be difficult to escape from such connotations (Thompson, 1984). The negative conceptualisation carries the implication for our arguments that if management is ideological, then it is somehow flawed. Barnett’s recent exploration of the permeation of universities by ideology has elements of this negative approach (Barnett, 2003). He writes: ‘It is precisely because the liberal virtues of the idea of the university yield a weak programme that ideologies have been able to gain such a powerful presence on campus’ (Barnett, 2003, p. 176). Ultimately, the negative view of ideology sees ideological thought as false consciousness (Larrain, 1979). While difficult to avoid, we do not intend to use ideology in this way. At the same time, neither do we see ideology as neutral or omnipresent in all systems of thought and belief, which because it is everywhere, explains very little (Zeus, 2003), especially when allied to the concept of ideology as deception or illusion. Instead we argue, in conformity with a broadly Marxist position, that ideology may be distinguished by the extent to which it serves to promote interests and maintain relations of power and domination.
Exworthy & Halford. Eagleton writes that it is best to see ideology. whilst the range of political persuasions of western governments adopting ‘new public management’ is much wider than this (Pollitt. Eagleton. Farrell & Morris. Cutler & Waine. 1999. p. 1996). 1997. theoreticians who prefer the term ‘new managerialism’ regard it first and foremost as an ideological approach to managing public services connected to state regulation of and manager power over such services and their employees (Clarke and Newman 1997. 2003). Farrell and Morris 2003). Pollitt. By contrast. 1991. best understood as an ideological configuration of ideas and practices recently brought to bear on public service organisation. 1999. rather than as an ideological phenomenon. The debate hinges on two different concepts of new forms of public management. Secondly.Management as ideology 219 Our conception of ideology also recognises a connection with language and discourse. Hood & Scott. 1993. Bailey. often at the behest of governments or government agencies (Enteman. 1984. Hughes. There appear to be two main differences between these rival concepts. Dijk. The main reason given by ‘new public management’ theorists for rejecting the link between new forms of public management and ideology is that ideology is associated with the political position of the New Right. 1999. whilst not adopting a Foucauldian notion of discourse. debates about ‘new managerialism’ chronicle its development and critique both the policies and socio-economic conditions that have led to its development and the way in which new managerialism is utilised (Clarke & Newman. 1991. 1991. we now turn to a discussion of debates about new forms of management in reformed public services and the extent to which these forms can be considered ideological. Exworthy & Halford. By contrast. ‘less as a particular set of discourses than as particular effects within discourses’ (Eagleton. Manning. 194). 2000. 2000. 1994). Hood. language and discourse are often highly abstract (Thompson. Having set out our conception of ideology. 1994. ‘New managerialism’ is in competition with an alternative concept of ‘new public management’ (Dunleavy & Hood. 1995. First. Pollitt & Bouckaert. 1998) but relevant to our task in this paper. 2000) which is seen by protagonists as defining new forms of administrative orthodoxy about how public services are run and regulated. 1997. management and delivery. which focus on advocating and developing less bureaucratic forms of public service organisation and introducing quasi-markets for public services (Frederickson. 1993. Discourse has multiple meanings and conceptualisations of the relations between ideology. 2002). . most theorists who use the concept ‘new public management’ see the process of management reform as the implementation of a particular form of regulatory governance of public services by state agencies (Hood & Scott. 2003). Exworthy and Halford 1999. New forms of management in public services The question of change to the management and delivery of public services in western countries in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century has been the subject of considerable debate. Reed. 1996. The first concept is ‘new managerialism’. debates about ‘new public management’ are often linked to debates in economics about public choice theory. Clarke & Newman.
target-setting. 1995. There is a heavy emphasis on importing ideas and practices from the private world of business into the world of public service. values and practices has evolved into something of a new international and technical administrative orthodoxy. monitoring employee performance (and encouraging selfmonitoring too). including the widespread use of performance indicators and league tables. ‘New managerialism’ theorists. has led to ‘new managerialism’ being seen by theorists as a ‘general ideology’. conceive management as a political. Deem 1994) and fragmentation of service delivery (Reed. emphasising the primacy of management above all other activities. 1941). 2000. since analyses of management ideologies are certainly not in themselves novel (Burnham. New managerial ideology ‘legitimises and seeks to extend the ‘“right to manage”’ (Clarke et al. Farrell & Morris. 2002). In the remainder of our analysis we want to concentrate on ‘new managerialism’ and its ideological connotations. devising means of publicly auditing quality of service delivery and the development of quasi-markets for services (Le Grand & Bartlett.. since there is evidence of . 9) to public service organisations previously the domain of trusted autonomous professionals using considerable discretion. 1996). for public service managers in general and higher education managers in particular. managerial and cultural changes through a regime of managerial discipline and control within widely different public services (Reed. it is evident that there is a perception that the move to devolved management of public services and their marketisation has also been accompanied paradoxically by both greater state regulation (Pollitt 1993. 1997). 1995. benchmarking and performance management (Kirkpatrick & Lucio. The term ‘new’ must be treated with some caution. not merely a technical activity (Clarke & Newman. Brehony Those who prefer the concept of ‘new public management’ share a consensus that the cluster of ideas. J. The manner in which the proponents of ‘new managerialism’. Finally. Like ‘new public management’. Exworthy & Halford. p. the attainment of financial and other targets. 1993). ‘new managerialism’ is also defined in contrast to public bureaucracies and the bureau-professional power over service-users supposedly evident in these (Mintzberg. however. It is the legitimation of management for its own sake that is claimed to be new (Pollitt. 2003) and labour-force restructuring is advocated to enable more team-work (Vogt. Characteristics of ‘new managerialism’ in organisations include: the erasure of bureaucratic rule-following procedures. 1983). General ideologies of new managerialism are widespread in terms of their imposition and effects on public service organisations and also serve the interests of those in management roles as well as agencies imposing the changes.220 R. Deem and K. Efficiency and effectiveness are extensively pursued in the field of service delivery (Farrell & Morris. ‘new managerialism’ is associated with new kinds of imposed external accountability. Hoggett. 1995. 2002). New configurations of the public and the private are glossed as ‘partnerships’ and include outsourcing services like catering. 2001) and flexibility. 1999. funding agencies and consultants seek to establish organisational. though this does not mean it is a monolithic ideology. 1993). 1999. such as governments. For adherents of both concepts. on the assumption that the latter are superior to the former. 1997. and private finance initiatives for new public buildings (McKendrick. however. 2003). Power.
‘New managerialism’ as an expression of managers’ interests Inherent in the claim that ‘new managerialism’ serves the needs and interests of managers is a view of ideology articulated by Lenin and subsequently by historicists like Lukács. in other services. It may be because the ideology happens to function in a way that advances or defends those managers’ interests. In this assertion. His argument rests mainly on a social determination of knowledge view: ‘the ethos of the new managers.Management as ideology 221 changes connected with ‘new managerialism’ dating back to at least the early 1980s. with 60% of the UK population now defining themselves as managers (Andrews. it seems highly unlikely that the ideas of ‘new managerialism’ originated with them. Gramsci and Mannheim. although in some public services ‘general managers’ have been brought in from the private sector (notably in reforms of the UK National Health Service in the late 1980s). 1998). except to imply that they had something to do with the Conservative administration in Britain from 1979 to the end of the 1980s. 2004). regarded as a social class. However. Andrews evades the question of the precise origin of new managerialist ideas. reared by Thatcher (Conservative Prime Minister 1979–1989) and socialised into maturity by Blair (current UK Prime Minister). part of social groups from the dominant classes. most ‘new managerial’ permeation of . Clearly. In the case of academics in management roles. has become the new common sense of politics itself. either in Marxist theory or other social theory. including education. 1998). senior managers in a particular public service. even if they do not in any sense themselves constitute a class. it is professionals themselves who take on management roles. such as higher education. managers have typically been drawn from the ranks of professionals themselves (Farrell & Morris. Central to this conception is the notion that cognitions. ‘New managerialism’ has become the new organising philosophy of governance and has served to justify the restructuring and modernising of a range of institutions’ (Andrews. Furthermore. the class belonging-ness notion is very problematic. In this conception of ideology. Such home-grown managers may embrace ‘new managerialism’ as a general ideology which serves their needs and interests whilst only being familiar with it in the context of a specific service. questions regarding the truth of the ideas attributed to classes are laid aside in favour of a functionalist account focusing on the external relations of one class to another and ideology’s function as a cement that enables class unity. 2003). beliefs and theories express the interests of a particular class. including in higher education (Deem. Where. and social work. since in the UK at least. Barrett has argued that ideology could apply equally to a variety of social groups which exercise forms of social power and domination (Barrett. The discussion of ‘new managerialism’ as an ideology expressing the interests of managers also raises questions about why that expression should occur. may well regard themselves or be regarded as. 1991). Andrews argues that managers are one of the fastest growing social groups. One difficulty in applying this conception of ideology to ‘new managerialism’ is that managers are not conventionally. as in higher education.
he wrote. that is: management conceived of as a social group which lays claim to social and organisational power through managerialism (Clarke & Newman. New managerialism exhibits the same commitment to instrumental reasoning and the same tendency towards the universalisation of managerial interests as identified in earlier variants of managerialism (Burnham. Only if origins are seen as central to the characterisation of ideology does a search for them possess any significance. 1985). Alvesson & Deetz. p. power and money. Brehony universities can be attributed to external factors such as state policies and funding regimes (Deem. His central charge was that ‘What managerial expertise requires . Deem and K. in a way that treats ideology as a social agent. So extensive are the similarities that MacIntyre’s critique of what he termed managerial fictions has much relevance to a critique of ‘new managerialism’.222 R. The claims of managers to authority. The main problem with this approach is that it tends to homogenise the category of managers and to treat all public service managers as having the same interests. 13). Edwards Deming (Osborne & Gaebler. 1998). 1994. Newman and Clarke identify the social location of new managerialist ideology in a somewhat circular fashion. Thus while there are grounds for arguing that Osborne and Gaebler’s book Reinventing government delineates some of the main characteristics of the new managerialist ideology. this requires both historical and empirical elucidation. The interests of managers cannot be simply read off from an all-embracing category. that ‘new managerialism’ has reshaped or recast. We turn now to MacIntyre’s critique of managerial expertise. 1993). ‘the contexts and the frames of reference––indeed the very language––within which decisions about public services are made’ (Clarke & Newman. 2004). MacIntyre’s critique of management fictions There is a continuing debate over how novel ‘new managerialism’ actually is and how much of it is drawn from previous ideas and practices. rests on their competence and expertise. On the question of the origin of managerial ideology. which is still highly relevant to contemporary debates about managers and their expression of ideological interests. p. J. what it signifies is not all that new (Hood. 1994. 1941). 228). Significantly. Burnham’s The Managerial Revolution argued that it was not necessary for managers to invent or be the first to adopt an ideology in order for it to be managerial (Burnham. MacIntyre conceived of an ideology as expressing the most appropriate mode of justification for the activities of bureaucrats (MacIntyre. This still leaves open whether or not these authors were expressing the interests of a managerial group or whether they provided the conceptual tools for that managerial group to legitimate its practice. ‘New managerialism’ seems just as vulnerable to the same objections as older forms of managerialism (that is a concern with the primacy of management in organisations and with the importance of management for management’s sake) and for some. It is claimed. the authors cite antecedents for their ideas such as Peter Drucker and W. 1999). as we shall see later when we examine the accounts given by academics in management roles. 1941.
1985. not reality. for example. it does not mean that ideological commitment has been secured. are not simply discursive. to which we now turn in order to examine their relationship to ‘new managerialism’. the Vicar retained his position and power by adapting the language and ideologies of each different regime. This critique of positivism is a familiar one but it does not lessen its significance. Earlier we mentioned that our notion of ideology invokes not only relations of power and domination. The creation of new layers of management and the introduction of performance management.Management as ideology 223 for its vindication is a justified conception of social science as providing a stock of law-like generalisations with strong predictive power’ (MacIntyre. A further possibility is that language is to varying degrees. Hence the grounds for managers’ claim to competence are untenable (though this does not stop such claims being made). 2000. the Vicar of Bray. a narrative is presented of how. 1978) and hence ideological but as Eagleton argues. p. Some theorists argue that all language is performative and rhetorical (Medvedev & Bakhtin. such as ‘best practice’ and ‘business process re-engineering’ (Hood. MacIntyre’s view is that such generalisations are not possible due to the difference between the objects of study in the natural and social sciences. through several regime changes. much drawn upon by new managerialist practitioners in organisations. New managerial language and discourse A common characteristic of much analytic writing on ‘new managerialism’ and cognate topics is a recourse to explanations focusing on language. the field of the history of ideas of public management suggests that ‘there is no idea about how to organize that is not contestable. As Hood points out. 2000). which we have now explored with reference to ‘new managerialism’ but also language and discourse. no doctrine that cannot be countered by a contradictory doctrine’ (Hood. She places emphasis upon how the language of HRM is an instrument of cultural change in which normative and descriptive elements are confused. is a rhetoric (Legge. For Legge. we turn for illustrative purposes to an analysis of a recent research project on the management of higher education organisations. It also shapes the identities and the views of organisational actors. In order to inquire further into management as ideology. it should not be concluded therefore that all language is rhetorical to exactly the same degree (Eagleton. Human Resource Management (HRM). p. 1995). many borrowed from engineering. new managerialist language asserts that the solution to all public service problems is management. One lesson of the song is that whilst language may change. constitutive of reality. . 13). Thus it could be argued that the impact of ‘new managerialism’ on education has been much more extensive than just a change in the language used to describe and discuss educational management. Arguments about rhetoric often contrast it to reality. 88). In the old English song. It is heavily inflected by technical metaphors. league tables and targets. This raises the question of whether the change in language reflects changes in reality or whether it is language that changes. Furthermore. 1991). ‘New managerialism’ generalises the language of business.
In the final stage of the project. that is. 1996). which were formerly polytechnics under the control of local government but which became independent incorporated institutions in 1989 and universities in 1992 (Pratt. best described as ‘doing more with less’ and backed up by public-funding methodologies as well as by league tables of which institution is performing best.1 was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant no R000237661 and based at Lancaster University from 1998–2000. J. It involves greater or enhanced service provision without a concomitant increase in resources or staffing. were used to help make sense of the data and the changes respondents claimed were occurring. managers and administrators from UK learned societies and professional bodies to find out what respondents perceived was currently happening to the management of universities.’s ideas proved a more practicable way of exploring the extent of permeation of ‘new managerialism’ than the more abstract analyses (Clarke & Newman. was introduced to the NHS in the government reforms of public services in the late 1980s by the Thatcher government. which is used to illustrate some of the theoretical points already made in the paper. library staff and technicians. 1997). higher education institutions with a charter to award degrees. ranging from redbrick and civic institutions to 1960s universities. Brehony The ESRC ‘New Managerialism’ Project The study. Perceptions of ‘new managerialism’ in UK Universities Data from all three phases of the ESRC project were examined for evidence of perceptions of a new managerial culture and general ideology in UK universities. Deem and K. Ferlie et al. The efficiency model. and a number of post-1992 universities. case studies of the cultures and management of four universities enabled comparison of the views of manager-academics with those of academics and support staff. involved a multi-disciplinary team.224 R. The second stage involved semi-structured interviews with 137 manager-academics2 (from Head of Department to Vice Chancellor) and 29 senior administrators in 16 universities. The remit of the project was to examine the extent to which ‘new managerialism’ was perceived to have permeated the management of UK universities. including secretaries. The interviews explored the backgrounds. current management practices and perceptions of respondents. 1997) utilised in shaping the research design. The first stage of the research used focus group discussions with academics. which have moved in a decade from an élite system taking only a tiny percentage of the relevant age group to a mass system admitting around . Though this may seem less appropriate than using concepts specifically arising from research on education.. These included several pre-1992 universities. Four models of ‘new managerialism’ taken from research on the UK National Health Service reforms in the late 1980s (Ferlie et al. The four models are not mutually exclusive and to some extent represent different historical stages in the development of ‘new managerialism’ in the UK. The efficiency model was perceived by almost all our respondents as having significantly permeated universities.
The second model emphasises downsizing and decentralisation. However. 1999) in which there is emphasis on cultural change. a smaller unit of resource per student and pressure to do both teaching and research to a high standard). devolution of budgets was limited in its effects. There was no evidence of downsizing in 1998–2000 in UK higher education when the fieldwork was conducted. rather than being internally generated by managers. 2000). though research on the gap between such claims and the actual practices of VCs suggest reactive firefighting is more usual (Bargh et al. Senior post-holders such as Vice Chancellors claimed to be engaged in strategic activity. Empowerment was scarcely mentioned by any respondent. An increase in team-work in academic departments was mentioned in the focus groups but rather less by manageracademics. This included devolved department budgets or cost centres and internal ‘markets’ for space and services such as libraries and computing. So the features of ‘new managerialism’ most evident in UK higher education appeared to be: changes to the funding environment. an internally-generated endeavour to provide a new value-basis for public services. according to many of our respondents. The final model. partly in response to external audit. more emphasis on team work in both teaching and research. . since then the sector has begun to experience some contraction through oversupply of places in some subjects (eg ‘hard’ laboratory-based sciences) and decreased research funding in some institutions. However. empowerment of employees and strategic scanning of the horizon. In the main. with greater involvement of service users in a dialogue with service providers (Ranson & Stewart. team-work. However.. greater internal and external surveillance of the performance of academics and an increase in the proportion of managers.Management as ideology 225 40% of all 18-year-olds. 2000). We should recognise that using the practices and/ or the language of ‘new managerialism’ do not mean that all practitioners and users thereby accept all of the ideological consequences of these.. both career administrators and manager-academics. which Marginson and Considine argue are also becoming increasingly important in Australian universities (Marginson & Considine. the introduction of cost-centres to university departments or faculties. there was some evidence of the existence of informal team structures such as faculty or senior management teams. Many manager-academic respondents in phase two reported attempts at cultural change. the features of new managerialism are perceived to have been externally imposed on higher education institutions. this also needs to be seen in the light of our earlier discussion of rhetoric and reality. 1994) was not mentioned by any respondent. However. Academic departments got responsibility for not incurring overspends but could not. There was evidence of some decentralisation. The research data suggest that new managerialism as a general ideology is believed by both manager-academics and other academics and support staff to have permeated UK universities. academic work and workloads (more students. A number of mergers of institutions have been mooted. hire new staff without resort to a central university committee. The third model is that of the learning organisation (Easterby-Smith et al. even if their budget was in surplus. in universities.
Management roles range from traditional heads of department (albeit with an enhanced role for performance management and quality control of teaching and research) through faculty deans (once a symbolic role. Here the issue of language is crucial. corporate images. The range of academics and manager-academics and the divisions between them are significant because they increase the likelihood of diverse interpretations of ‘new managerialism’ ideology as fragmented or discontinuous rather than the kind of universalist positions on management posited by MacIntyre (MacIntyre. Deem. now often with a considerable amount of financial responsibility for faculty departments) to members of senior management teams such as Pro-Vice Chancellors and Vice Chancellors who determine the strategic direction of their institutions. Carter et al. In this context it is also important to be aware of the complex composition of the academic workforce. The issue of the extent to which manager-academics identify with new managerialism and see their interests as represented by it also varies. They suggest that the language shift is indicative of a shift in values informing management decision making in schools. as state-funded schools become more embedded in quasi-market competition for pupils based on parental choice and league tables of pupil exam successes (Gewirtz et al. Gewirtz. because it underlines the improbability of manager-academics constituting a class by themselves or having identical interests. The authors argue that the language talked in state secondary schools in England has shifted towards a greater concern with products. with about 50% of academic staff in the UK not having a permanent appointment. 96–97). Brehony New managerial ideology and a divided profession We have already discussed the question of whether managers in general constitute a class grouping and suggested that they do not but argued that managers could nevertheless constitute particular social groups drawn from the dominant classes. marketing groups. 2003) despite the fact that manager-academics have actually mostly previously worked as academics (and many continue to do so in an albeit more restricted manner). 2001). 1997. Eggins. which also includes moving away from concern with the less able pupil towards instrumental short-term academic goals such as pupil performance in examinations. pp. 1999.226 R. Deem and K. J. (1995) also cite Clarke and Newman’s point .. Gewirtz et al. Morley.. Other divisions include gender (Brooks. 1999) and different pay levels and contracts (Bett Report. 2001) ethnicity (Modood & Acland.. ‘poaching’ of pupils and the like. 1997. manager-academics could be constructed as members of a social group having interests about power relations within higher education but these interests and their purposes might vary. 1996. finance managers. although some blurring of these has occurred as interdisciplinary work has become more popular. The increased prominence of academics in management roles has also introduced a stronger divide between manager-academics and academics not in management roles (Deem & Johnson. 1995. Ball and Bowe in their study of markets in schools suggest that headteachers are often bi-lingual (Gewirtz et al. pp. 96–109). Brooks & Mackinnon. 2000. Divisions between academics are particularly connected to traditional disciplinary/subject boundaries (Becher & Trowler. 1999). 1985). 1995. In the case under discussion.
targets. also suggest that more traditional values about education have not entirely disappeared and that some head teachers are drawing on two sets of ideas. 1998). what is difficult to discern simply from language-usage is how much manager-academics are convinced by the ideologies and values of ‘new managerialism’. Only one third of those interviewed had received any significant training for their management roles. 1992. Gewirtz et al. both public and private. The introduction of new managerial ideologies to public services has been in existence since at least the 1980s and the National Health Service was one of the first places in the UK where this took place (Ferlie et al. Learning to ‘do’ ‘new managerialism’ How do manager-academics acquire the language and ideological values of ‘new managerialism’? The ESRC study found that systematic and extended training in management itself. The NHS was always present in higher education in schools of medicine and dentistry but during the last decade or so. traditional ideas about humanistic higher education and the new language of performance. and in some cases only grudgingly (if at all) accepting the new emphasis on markets and competition (Gewirtz et al. So whilst many managers in other fields.. such as when an institution experiences major financial difficulties (Deem. 1995). So it might be surmised that this is another source of higher education’s familiarity with new managerial language and ideology.Management as ideology 227 that ‘Not to be able to speak management leaves one marginal. moving between them according to context. At the same time. disenfranchised or rendered speechless—using words no longer recognised’ (Clarke & Newman. Thus their legitimation is often based as much on their academic status and occupational position as on mastery of the theory of management. it might also be that those who come fresh to academic work are more likely than those who are long-established to . The use of consultants. The apparent sources of new managerial ideology in UK higher education seem to include: government policies on higher education (loosely summed up as less public money and more regulation) and the policies and funding mechanisms of the higher education funding bodies. 1985). We contend that some of this applies to manager-academics too—in fact they may be not just bi-lingual but tri-lingual. was still relatively uncommon. drawing on their disciplines or subjects. schools of nursing have been integrated into many higher education institutions as part of what was known as Project 2000. 1998) is another important mechanism (Saint-Martin. manager-academics generally have not. including the use of quantitative indicators of performance in research. one possible source of universal generalisations about management (MacIntyre. may have received extensive training. aimed at making nursing a graduate profession. competition and audit. However. 1996). though since the policy and funding context of UK higher education is replete with new managerialist terms. However. ranging from in-house courses to MBAs. pp. although this situation may be changing with the very recent establishment of a new Leadership Foundation for UK higher education. who are often brought in to resolve major problems. So their ability to draw on universal theories of management is very limited. 19–20).. it is hard to escape this completely.
there may be those who ignore or reject change (often referred to by managers as those who don’t live in the ‘real world’). increased emphasis on external audits of the quality of teaching (Shah and Brennan 2000) and research (Mace.g. And you’ve got to deliver on time. Thus the interests they wished to defend were those as academics qua academics not those of managers. or more than doubled. If you have that rate of growth and you have enormous complexity of types of degrees. Heads of Department). Applied Science. weekends. and those who embrace it. then the prospects of a wide spectrum of reactions to ‘new managerialist’ ideology become more likely. arts/humanities and social sciences. evenings. other Heads of Department. This last-named group included most Vice Chancellors and Pro-Vice Chancellors interviewed: In the [few] years I’ve been here [the university] has expanded. there’s no job. a lot of mature students. almost without realising it. you are running. there are many possible reactions to change (Trowler. This was especially so where the latter regarded themselves as ‘reluctant managers’. 2002) have also familiarised all academics with the language of targets and accountability. resistance to ‘new managerialism’ was evident not only amongst academics (including those on short-term contracts) and support staff but also amongst some of those at middle levels of management (e. Deem and K. Sorry. (HoD. J. we talk about products which we have to sell to students and to industry. including many of those from the pure sciences.. the student numbers. I’m talking about . to quality or walk away. And if they walk away there’s no income and if there’s no income there’s no business. Brehony speak the language of the moment. Thus in relation to ‘new managerialism’. part-time students. they don’t trust us completely with money. In the ESRC research.228 R. If there’s no business. but you can’t do that without management. this is the thing. (VC. when we add these multiple sources of new managerial ideas to the divisions within the academic profession. Now. even Heads of Department. post-1992) At the same time. You’re delivering to clients now. I think they [vice and pro-vice chancellors] don’t trust us. 1998). were concerned at the implications of recent changes to managerial ideologies and practice and did not identify themselves as a social group with managerial interests but did identify those in the layers of senior management above as such a social group: Well. Harley. However. doing the job only temporarily and not seeing it as a career-track or regarding themselves as members of a distinctive social group (Deem et al. Finally. those who subvert change for their own purposes. including discourses of managerialism. afternoon release. students coming in for day release. As Trowler has noted in his study of academic responses to change in a university. 2000. post-1992) A minority of those at lower levels of university management (especially those from technology or business studies) also appeared to accept changes in language and the ideological values accompanying such changes as essential to the future of higher education: We talk about this as an educational business and we don’t talk about courses in a sense. it’s doubled. that’s a cultural shift … the days when you were just delivering to students and they liked it or not have gone. 2001). or the institution is running an inherently far more complex set of processes than ever before.
devolved budgets has actually made an enormous difference to the culture of universities … the outlook has changed. careermanagers used their power to bring about a focus on students conceived as customers or on widening participation in higher education to disadvantaged groups. Especially in the post-1992 institutions. (Science learned society focus group) Those Heads of Department who were doing the job for fixed periods of time. medium or high research rich and correspondingly low. medium or high teaching rich and they/we made it very clear that. a high teaching person then this is what you have to do in order to move into a different category. thus confirming that manager-academics at different levels do not have identical interests: very often when I go to work I have to pinch myself and say. which I . this was all done in the open so everyone could see what everybody else was teaching everybody else and we made it very clear that you can move. ‘Look I’m sure I originally was an academic. as Lucas found in her study of academics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise (Lucas.Management as ideology 229 elementary decisions … I think the system’s gone too far in that direction … even up to the Head of Department. 2001. Thus they may wish. including status and future careers. as being low. (HoD science. pre-1992) New Managerialism as a general ideology may be embraced by manager-academics with a variety of views and purposes. however. ‘Well we know that’s true but it’s very tactless of you to rub our noses in it’. they don’t really trust you. ‘Students come first’ and … a member of staff said to me. categories. They have been actually put in the position of doing something that they were not actually trained to do. even amongst those doing the job only temporarily. I did as well is I introduced a. may nevertheless see ‘new managerialism’ as representing their interests if they seek to use the ideological power and dominance it affords for their own purposes. but gosh I now feel like an accountant. to focus on research to the exclusion of other activities such as teaching. (HoD social sciences pre-1992) Other manager-academics. rather than being appointed on a permanent basis (the former is more common in the pre1992 universities) appeared to feel uncomfortable with what they were being asked to do as managers. Bins is a bad word. 2002) and as was evident in this response from a head of department: one of the things that I. we rejected a view of ideology which sees it as something with negative connotations). not all of which are necessarily to the detriment of teaching and students (earlier. a workload model into the department so people were allocated to bins. So we become managers by default and very often I’ve got in a position of being in an antagonistic relationship within an institution with the part of the managers … the academics are quasi-managers at loggerheads with the real. The people who like me are now starting to feel that they … made the wrong job decision because here they are at the end of the day 25 years later being accountants and not academics. suggesting that ‘new managerialism’ is indeed a general ideology that can be used to support a variety of managerial interests: Very first thing I ever said … was. for example. full-time managers who have a different career structure and a different career path. especially in the pre-1992 universities. You know your categorisation if you don’t much want to be a. I spend all my time it seems to me talking about issues about money’ … I think that that change towards internal markets.
If the Dean wants. I mean. J. post-1992) A minority of manager-academics appeared more interested in power and their careers than their staff. 1996). And the university is going to get a lot tougher about performance … I would have to say those people have not performed … if you are then going to be absolutely blunt about it.3 they weren’t forced out. a group of a hundred of my colleagues were offered Premature Retirement Compensation Scheme. though whether this was evidence of mono-lingualism (i. though only a few embrace every aspect. who are cleaners.. widening participation. (PVC. and that very much includes colleagues who are caretakers. I’m going to take some of this from psychology and give it to chemistry and physics’. comparing the perceptions of manager-academics about how their organisations were managed with those of other academic. Most of them talked the language of new managerialism. just as some staff in the UK National Health Service used the 1980s reforms of hospitals strategically to bolster their career opportunities (Ferlie et al. clerical and manual staff. … its rootedness must be in the quality of the educational experience of students who come to us… I see the role as manager as … [also] a responsibility to try and make sure that … more people from the kind of class background I came from. to their own career advantage in power terms: I do think you actually need Faculties. The opportunist manager. we still need Deans and Faculties to say ‘well what degree should we put on?’ and that sort of stuff … [but] there was always an allocation model … that says psychology should get this much money and chemistry and physics should get this much money. in some way. feel that higher education is for them as well. Brehony thought was hilarious. (Dean. which are not necessarily the same interests as those of their staff: Last year. research or students. … It’s the access. pre-1992) Despite the differences of view expressed by manager-academics interviewed. he can alter the model and say ‘oh no. that provides the centre-piece of our mission statement. post-1992) As a Dean of School … what I’m currently doing. administrative. can become adept at using general ideologies of managerialism and relations of power and dominance. We’re going to put a stop to that … a lot of the power of one of those layers is going to be reduced with the respect to the resource allocation.230 R. a general ideology of new managerialism. It quickly became evident that senior managers and indeed almost all . (VC pre-1992) Some senior manager-academics may convince themselves that what they are doing is for the greater good.e. the question is how much power you let the Dean have and in particular whether you let the Dean over-ride the resource allocation model in terms of allocating resources … we are taking more and more power over the allocation of resources. they were offered PRCS. case studies were conducted of four universities. the research findings do suggest that almost all of them are drawing on and using. Deem and K. … and also the majority of the academic staff. Humanities and Social Science. And I would say 80% of the organisation breathed a sigh of relief. (VC. did they also hold the underlying values of new managerialism?) was very difficult to discern. our strategy. no. In the third phase of the research. whilst the same time. general new managerialist ideology serves to legitimate their actions and interests. they haven’t fully done what they are paid for doing. like the Vicar of Bray..
the productive. was not evident amongst many of the manager-academics interviewed for the ESRC study (Johnson & Deem. Manager-academics can and do use cultural and social divisions (eg the research-active. this is very clearly an ideological rather than simply a technical reform of higher . Whereas a study of UK social workers. we did suggest that shared interests about power and domination do cluster in social groups drawn from the dominant classes. they are primarily drawn from the ranks of academics and are not taken from a special cadre of general managers. 2003). Hence managers of public services may form distinctive social groups in particular settings and have common interests in the exercise of relations of power and domination over other employees in those settings. new managerial general ideology does assist manager-academics in maintaining relations of power and dominance. for example. Conclusion In our opening discussion about ideology. 2003). we suggested that we favoured definitions emphasising that ideology may be distinguished by the extent to which it serves to maintain relations of power and domination. In this sense. thus suggesting that as a social group. a commitment to students. 2003). the excellent teachers. Many senior manager-academics interviewed. ‘New managerialism’ has changed and will continue to change what universities do and how they do it. This is bolstered by outside agencies concerned with quality audit and assessment of research and teaching which further legitimate the right of university managers to manage. However. such manager-academics are very interested indeed in maintaining relationships of power and domination. We also argued that reforms to the management of public services such as education could usefully be regarded as part of a general ideology allied to ‘new managerialism’ rather than a new technocratic administrative orthodoxy that is unconnected to relations of power and domination. Our discussion of the ‘are managers a class’ debate indicated our view that managers do not constitute a class. Our exemplification of ‘new managerialism’ ideology by reference to research on the management of UK higher education suggests not only that new managerialism as a general set of ideological principles has permeated higher education but also that many manager-academics have embraced these principles and the associated language. doctors and teachers in and outside management roles found a continuing commitment to carework and the client amongst all (Farrell & Morris. despite most having a background as academics themselves. This seems to be especially so for those who are in senior positions or hold permanent managerial posts at any level. whatever the underpinning values of the managers concerned. seemed to assert their right to manage over both academics and other staff. the less-competent) to divide and rule amongst their staff.Management as ideology 231 manager-academics were seen by non-managerial staff of all kinds as a distinctive social group with interests quite different to those of other staff (Deem. including through the use of language. especially when as in the case of manager-academics.
organisational cultures and the practices of manager-academics in UK universities.232 R. Acknowledgements An earlier version of this paper was presented at the ‘Developing Philosophy of Management—Crossing Frontiers’ Reason in Practice Conference at St Anne’s College. Mike I. Oliver Fulton (Co-director). Johnson) Risking the university? Learning to be a manager-academic in UK Universities. Kevin Joseph Brehony is Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Roehampton. Notes 1.N. and a Higher Education Funding Council for England project involving case studies of staff experiences of equity policies in six higher education institutions. Reed (Co-director) and Stephen Watson (Co-director). June 26–29 2002 and thanks are due to participants in that session for their helpful comments. . Notes on contributors Rosemary Deem is Professor of Education at the University of Bristol. Recent publications include (2003) Gender. education policy and the origins of education as a subject area. 10(2) and (2003 with R. especially child-centred education. Gender. Oxford. Work and Organisation. Deem and K. Recent publications include: (2001) From the particular to the general the continuous to the discontinuous: progressive education revisited. Sam Hillyard (Research Associate). Premature Retirement Compensation which gives added pensionable years to those retiring early. The project was located in the Department of Educational Research and the Management School at Lancaster University. History of Education. J.uk (3 August). with Heidi Edmundson as Project Administrator. The team consisted of Rosemary Deem (Director). Brehony education and one that is firmly based on interests concerning relations of power and dominance. 30(5). (2002) Researching the grammar of schooling: an historical view. Manager-academic is preferred to academic manager since some career administrators such as finance directors also see themselves as academic managers. His research interests include educational ideologies. Rachel Johnson (Senior Research Associate).socreslonline. She is currently directing a UK Learning and Teaching Support Network funded project looking at the interrelationship between education policy in the four UK countries and the work of Education Departments in higher education institutions. The term manager-academic refers to academics who take on management roles in higher education institutions. European Educational Research Journal 1(1). whether temporarily or permanently. 3. 2. Socresonline http:www. She directed the Economic and Social Research Council funded project ‘New managerialism and the Management of UK universities’ (1998–2000) on which part of this paper is based.org.
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