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Is there a crisis of trust in universities? CIHE/SRHE Consultation Trust, Accountability and the World to Come St George’s House, Windsor Castle, 22-23 April 2010. Rob Cuthbert Professor of Higher Education Management University of the West of England [email protected]

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Is there a crisis of trust in universities?CIHE/SRHE ConsultationTrust, Accountability and the World to ComeSt George’s House, Windsor Castle, 22-23 April 2010

Rob Cuthbert

Professor of Higher Education Management

University of the West of England

[email protected]

http://www.uwe.ac.uk/groups/campus/index.shtml


What is the problem
What is the problem?

  • Managing in an atmosphere of distrust

  • Worldwide concern

  • Quality: everything and nothing?

  • Audit culture –v- self-regulation

  • Private and public


“We set detailed performance targets for public bodies, but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

O’Neill (2002:viii)


Trust accountability
Trust, accountability … but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Trust and accountability

  • Audit and self-regulation

  • Getting the balance right depends on:

    • Better mutual understanding

    • Better connections between policy and practice

    • Better communication


And the world to come
… and the world to come but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • The nature of trust

  • Trust in public bodies

  • HE and the state

  • How does HE change?

  • The opportunity we have now

  • Diagnosis rather than prescription


The nature of trust
The nature of trust but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

n.Belief: Confidence in a person or plan

Certainty: based on past experience

Trait: believing in others’ honesty/reliability

v.Believe … expect … extend credit to … allow without fear …confer a trust upon … expect and wish


The nature of trust1
The nature of trust but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Charitable: trust

  • Professional: trust me, I’m a doctor

  • Social: trussst in me …

  • Domestic: can I trust you to …

  • Financial: too trusting?

  • A two-edged concept


The nature of trust2
The nature of trust but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Social and technological changes systematically dismantle trust, which needs to be reconstructed (Misztal)

  • Confidence –v- trust (Luhmann)

  • Vicious circle of anxiety and suspicion

  • Reputation is the key to trust (Dasgupta)


The nature of trust3
The nature of trust but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

“ ... trust (or symmetrically, distrust) is a particular level of the subjective probability with which an agent assesses that another agent or group of agents will perform a particular action, both before he can monitor such action (or independently of his capacity ever to be able to monitor it) and in a context in which it affects his own action.” (Gambetta:216, emphasis in original).


Trust in public bodies
Trust in public bodies but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • High profile cases: MPs’ expenses

  • Election debate: public spending = ‘waste’

  • A once familiar narrative: private good, public bad. But:

  • More high profile cases: Worldcom, Enron

  • The world financial crisis


Trust in public bodies1
Trust in public bodies but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • A seeming irony: the public sector must pay for private excesses

  • But what is public, what is private? (Watson).

  • BAe, VT, Mouchel

  • U of Buckingham, BPP, Carter & Carter


Trust in public bodies2
Trust in public bodies but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

Changing the narrative:

  • Not private or public, but:

  • Market or political/hierarchical choice? (Vickers)

  • Selective or comprehensive concerns?

  • Making a profit, or making a difference?


Trust in public bodies3
Trust in public bodies but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • The primacy of values and beliefs

  • Communication, and how mass media can distort perceptions and beliefs

  • Prejudice: public and private

  • Capitalism is comparatively scrupulous (Weber)


Trust in public bodies4
Trust in public bodies but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • New public management and the ‘perverse social defence’; the negative outcomes of managerialism and Performance Management

  • Virtual reality and the ‘auditable surface’

  • “… the further removed the observer (ie managers, policymakers, politicians) is from the reality of the frontline the more they are likely to be taken in by the illusion they themselves have been instrumental in creating.” (Hoggett)

  • There is nothing a manager wants done which cannot be undone by educated subordinates


Higher education and the state
Higher education and the state but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • New public management: insightful analysis, but in HE, mostly a literature of whingeing

  • Academic capitalism: insights, but more whingeing (Bok)

  • League tables: condemnation and collusion; failures of managerial imagination

  • Breaking through the ‘auditable surface’: new communication, re-education not appeasement


How does he change
How does HE change? but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Elite (3%) to mass to universal (40-50%)

  • <15 universities to >150 universities

  • Unit costs down 80-90%

  • Funding from secret to transparent

  • Modularisation, credit, e-learning

  • Diversifying: staff and students

  • The idea of the university: global context


How does he change1
How does HE change? but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

QA for improvement or justification? Can we do both? If so QA must:

make a difference for students; be owned by HEIs; be relevant to HE’s purposes; promote diversity; be cyclical not sporadic; address standards; be done by peers, at subject or program level; contain international comparative measures; be reported in terms easily understood by a lay audience (Massaro)


How does he change2
How does HE change? but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

The case of the RAE

  • Seems to meet many of Massaro’s criteria

  • Improvement and justification?

  • Attacked, but then defended, why?

  • Problem with its uses as much as its methods

  • The devil we know

  • Self-regulation and peer review


How does he change3
How does HE change? but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • QA and the RAE: not seeing the wood for the trees

  • We need to see academic practice as a whole, not as R and T, separately funded

  • The true meaning of ‘brand’ is the integrity of academic practice in corporate strategy

  • The integrity of the HE sector


The opportunity we have now
The opportunity we have now but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Let’s not waste a good crisis

  • HE has been trying too hard to be accountable, and not hard enough to be trustworthy

  • Less spending should mean less control, not more (anti Mandelson)

  • A trust dividend – really reducing the bureaucratic burden


The opportunity we have now1
The opportunity we have now but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

To change the narrative/discourse:

  • Distrust in/ignorance of modern higher education

  • a lack of understanding of ‘science’ (boffins)

  • academics deliberately obscure things (dons)

  • English anti-intellectualism

  • HE isn’t ‘worth it’ anymore, it’s not what it was

  • wider access means lower standards


Changing the discourse
Changing the discourse but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Too many graduates, ‘non-graduate’ jobs

  • Too many people fail

  • UK plc is slipping; education is partly to blame

  • New universities better off as polytechnics

  • Vocational education is OK … for other people’s children (Wolf)

  • Academics don’t know when they’re well off


Tests for a new narrative
Tests for a new narrative but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

Meet the global challenges of

  • Mission definition

  • Funding structures and arrangements

  • Student engagement

  • Transparency and accountability

  • Ability to partner

    (Freedman)


So he must
So HE must: but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Be willing to change

  • Broaden vision to include schools/HEI axis

  • Understand/improve student engagement

  • Commit to change, be seen to change

  • Improve assessment and accountability

  • Involve staff and students, study what works best


Trust accountability and the world to come let s scrap
Trust, accountability and the world to come. Let’s scrap: but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • The myth of choice

  • Targets, specifications, inspections

  • Deliverology

  • Obsession with ‘sharing back office services’

  • The Audit Commission

  • The centralised regime that oversees the public sector (Middleton, Seddon)


Trust accountability and the he world to come
Trust, accountability and the HE world to come but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Avoid obsession with elite universities

  • Make HE policy less institution-focused

  • End CUC-style KPI management

  • Scrap programme specifications

  • More trouble-shooting, less audit

  • ‘Skills’ and ‘Quality’ not fit for purpose


Changing the narrative
Changing the narrative but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

Main Street not Wall Street?

  • “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.” (Friedman)

  • Mortgage meltdown: immoral but not illegal (Hirsch and Morris)

  • Making markets more moral: can HE catch a wave of change?


Changing the he narrative
Changing the HE narrative but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Management not managerialism

  • More ‘general educational character’, less ‘mission’

  • More openness, transparency, rigour, morality, ethical behaviour

  • Education not propaganda, for HE staff, governors, politicians, regulators, journalists, publics (eg Streeting and Wise)


Changing the narrative1
Changing the narrative but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

  • Authenticity: “Universities are about habits of truth” (Blackburn) but Heidegger! Humility, the provisionality of knowledge.

  • Integrity and diversity of the HE sector; comprehensive not selective concern; make a difference for and to society


Trust accountability and the world to come
Trust, accountability and the world to come but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

A trust dividend for a virtuous circle:

  • more trust, leading to

  • better accountability, leading to

  • better higher education performance, leading to

  • more trust


References
References but are complacent about the perverse incentives they create. We try to micro-manage complex institutions from the centre, and wonder why we get over-complex and inadequate rather than good and effective governance. We try to judge quality by performance indicators rather than by seeking independent and informed evaluation. We aspire to complete transparency in public life, but neglect the more fundamental goal of limiting deception.”

Ackoff R and HJ Addison, with considered responses by S Bibb (2006) A little book of f-laws: 13 common sins of management Axminster: Triarchy Press

Blackburn S (2010) ‘Truth? There’s the rub’ Times Higher Education 4 February 2010

Blackmore J (2009) ‘Academic pedagogies, quality logics and performative universities: evaluating teaching and what students want’ Studies in Higher Education 34:8 857-872

Bok D (2003) Universities in the marketplace: the commercialisation of higher education Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press

Bornstein R (2009) ‘Why you shouldn’t just be yourself during hard times’ The Chronicle of Higher Education 13 July 2009

Burke J (ed) (2005) Achieving accountability in higher education: balancing public, academic and market demands San Francisco: Jossey Bass

Cuthbert R (2010) ‘Failing the challenge of institutional evaluation: how and why managerialism flourishes’ in Saunders M, P Trowler and V Bamber (eds) (2010)Evaluative practices in HE: an international view Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press


Dasgupta P (2000) ‘Trust as a commodity’ in Gambetta D (ed) (2000) Trust: making and breaking cooperative relations electronic edition, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford Chapter 4 49-72 http://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk/papers/dasgupta49-72.pdf Downloaded 15 April 2010.

Fairtlough G (2006) The three ways of getting things done: hierarchy, heterarchy and responsible autonomy Axminster: Triarchy Press

Freedman G (2008) Unlocking the global education imperative Blackboard Inc http://www.blackboard.com/Teaching-Learning/Learn-Resources/Research.aspx

Downloaded 15 March 2010

Friedman M (1970) ‘The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’ The New York Times 13 September 1970

Gambetta D (2000) ‘Can we trust trust?’ in Gambetta D (ed) (2000) Trust: making and breaking cooperative relations electronic edition, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford Chapter 13 213-237 http://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk/papers/dasgupta49-72.pdf Downloaded 15 April 2010.

Hauptmann A (2009) ‘Four faulty assumptions about American higher education’ The Chronicle of Higher Education 20 November 2009


Hirsch P and M-H Morris (2010) ‘Immoral but not illegal: monies vs mores amid the mortgage meltdown’ Strategic Organisation 2010 8:69

Hoggett P (2009) Government and the perverse social defence A paper for the memorial conference for Isabel Menzies Lyth

Luhmann N (2000) ‘Familiarity, confidence, trust: problems and alternatives’ in Gambetta D (ed) (2000) Trust: making and breaking cooperative relations electronic edition, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford Chapter 6 94-107 http://www.sociology.ox.ac.uk/papers/dasgupta49-72.pdf As downloaded 15 April 2010.

Massaro V (2010) ‘Cui bono? The relevance and impact of quality assurance’ Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 32:1 February 2010 17-26

Middleton P (ed) (2010) Delivering public services that work (Volume 1) Axminster: Triarchy Press

Misztal B (1996) Trust in modern societies: the search for the bases of social order Cambridge: Polity Press

Motion J and S Leitch (2009) ‘The transformational potential of public policy discourse’ Organization Studies 30:10 1045-1061


Murphy M (2009) ‘Bureaucracy and its limits: accountability and rationality in higher education’ British Journal of Sociology of Education 30:6 November 2009 683-695

O’Neill O (2002) A question of trust Cambridge: Cambridge University Press The Reith Lectures 2002

Pollitt C (2009) ‘Editorial: public service quality – between everything and nothing?1 International Review of Administrative Sciences 75:3 379-382

Roe MJ (2006) Political determinants of corporate governance: political context, corporate impact Oxford: Oxford University Press

Seddon J (2008) Systems Thinking in the Public Sector: the failure of the reform regime... and a manifesto for a better way Axminster: Triarchy Press

Slovic P (2006) ‘Perceived risk, trust and democracy’ Risk Analysis 13:6 675-682

Streeting W and D Wise (2009) Rethinking the values of higher education: consumption, partnership, community? Gloucester: Quality Assurance Agency

Tight M (2009) The Development of Higher Education in the United Kingdom since 1945 Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Society for Research into Higher Education and Open University Press


Vickers G (1965) accountability and rationality in higher education’ The art of judgment London: Chapman and Hall

Watson D (2009) The Question of Morale: Managing Happiness and Unhappiness in University Life Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Open University Press

Zemsky R (2009) ‘Will higher education ever change as it should?’ The Chronicle of Higher Education 3 August 2009


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