‘Inspired and assisted’, or ‘berated and destroyed’? Research leadership, management and performativity in troubled times

Saltmarsh, Sue, Sutherland-Smith, Wendy and Randell-Moon, Holly 2011, ‘Inspired and assisted’, or ‘berated and destroyed’? Research leadership, management and performativity in troubled times, Ethics and education, vol. 6, no. 3, Special Issue: In search of the ethical university, pp. 293-306.

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Title ‘Inspired and assisted’, or ‘berated and destroyed’? Research leadership, management and performativity in troubled times
Author(s) Saltmarsh, Sue
Sutherland-Smith, Wendy
Randell-Moon, Holly
Journal name Ethics and education
Volume number 6
Issue number 3
Season Special Issue: In search of the ethical university
Start page 293
End page 306
Total pages 14
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2011-10
ISSN 1744-9650
1744-9642
Keyword(s) higher education
research culture
research performance
management
leadership
neoliberalism
Summary Research leadership in Australian universities takes place against a backdrop of policy reforms concerned with measurement and comparison of institutional research performance. In particular, the Excellence in Research in Australian initiative undertaken by the Australian Research Council sets out to evaluate research quality in Australian universities, using a combination of expert review process, and assessment of performance against ‘quality indicators’. Benchmarking exercises of this sort continue to shape institutional policy and practice, with inevitable effects on the ways in which research leadership, mentoring and practice are played out within university faculties and departments. In an exploratory study that interviewed 32 Australian academics in universities in four Australian states, we asked participants, occupying formal or informal research leadership roles, to comment on their perceptions of research leadership as envisioned and enacted in their particular workplaces. We found a pervasive concern amongst participants that coalesced around binaries characterized in metaphoric terms of ‘carrots and whips’. Research leadership was seen by many as managerial in nature, and as such, largely tethered to instrumentalist notions of productivity and performativity, while research cultures were seen as languishing under the demoralizing weight of reward and punishment systems. Here, we consider what is at stake for the future of the academic workforce under such conditions, arguing that new models of visionary research leadership are urgently needed in the ‘troubled times’ of techno-bureaucratic university reforms.
Language eng
Field of Research 130103 Higher Education
Socio Economic Objective 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30031170

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Institute of Teaching and Learning
Higher Education Research Group
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