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Care-Less Cultures: New Managerialism and the Care Ceiling in Higher Education. Kathleen Lynch UCD Equality Studies Centre, School of Social Justice Critical Thinking: the Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities, NUI Galway, 5-6 th June 2008

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care less cultures new managerialism and the care ceiling in higher education

Care-Less Cultures: New Managerialism and the Care Ceiling in Higher Education

Kathleen Lynch

UCD Equality Studies Centre, School of Social Justice

Critical Thinking: the Galway Symposium on the Future of Universities,

NUI Galway, 5-6th June 2008

Research for this paper was supported by the Gender Equality Unit of the Department of Education and Science

outline of the paper
Outline of the paper
  • Engine of Change – The rise of commercialisation and neo-liberal policies
  • ‘Homo Economicus’ – Measurement, league tables, ranking and myths
  • New Managerialism defined
  • The Study
  • 24/7 Managers - Care-less Workers – the gendered and care implications
  • Conclusion – Policy Considerations

Why Commercialisation is being promoted - the Global Context –Distal causes(A Brief History of Neo-Liberalism, 2005, by Harvey, D., Oxford University Press ; and The New Spirit of Capitalism, by Boltanski, L. and Chiapello, E. 2006, London:Verso)

  • Since the1990s – power of global capitalism has increased greatly- focused on reducing the costs of state expenditure to capital – i.e reducing taxation
        • Reducing direct taxation is the ‘carrot’ for the general public but indirect taxationcontinues and is socially regressive –
          • Consequences- reduced funding for public services including education
        • Philanthropy is promoted as a substitute for taxation - a new form of institutionalised Charity
          • Consequences-emergence of philanthro-capitalism and private sector control over civil society institutions (Michael Edwards, 2008)
        • Public-private partnerships – in universities exemplified in state subvention of commercially-driven research
          • Consequences -elision of the difference between public interest-driven scholarship and for-profit-led research
        • Neo-liberal ideology and politics have been deliberately promoted as a means of undermining public control and investment in education and other public services

Commercialisation and the role of multilateral agreements: the EU Services Directive, the Lisbon Agreement and the General Agreement on Trade & Services (GATS)

  • Moves internationally to make education, especially higher education, a tradeable service rather than a public service
    • At EU level Services Directive 2006 (replaced the Bolkestein Directive of 2005 only after considerable pressure)
    • With the Lisbon agreement, education has been defined as the handmaiden of the economy in Europe
  • GATS regulations - objective is the ‘liberalisation’ of trade in services – reduce state investment and put lucrative areas of education (higher education) on the market
    • Outcomes: Once education services are defined as tradable under the GATS they are deregulated and legal, political and fiscal quality controls are greatly reduced.
    • Question: Where does the Irish government stand in relation to the GATS and Education?
why the commercialisation of education is being promoted proximate causes
Why the Commercialisation of Education is being promoted: proximate causes
  • Reducing the role of the State in providing services is presented as ‘common sense’ in Ireland – to challenge it is to be defined as deviant ‘not in the real world’
  • Those who are meant to uphold public interest values in Ireland have remained silent or collaborated with the commercialisation project especially in higher education
  • Promoting individualised ‘academic capitalism’ in higher education
  • How has this happened?
        • Deep-rooted culture of consensus and anti-intellectualism in the education field in Ireland
        • Lack of a strong critical educational discourse in universities and higher education generally
        • Most of the media are net beneficiaries of commercialisation – little dissent
        • No powerful ‘ethical voices’ in higher education
league tables and rankings tool of the market good at selling newspapers
League Tables and Rankings: tool of the market – good at selling newspapers
  • Only measure outputs without assessing inputs systematically – in terms of real resources, time, inherited identities, student needs
    • No league tables assess universities in terms of diversity of intake, -
      • In the US strong disincentive to take students who have low grades (often the most disadvantaged) as it reduces rankings in the US News and World Report Rankings
      • Growth of Merit-based student aid as opposed to Needs-Based Student Aid (already happening in Ireland with entrants awards)
    • None of these rankings survey student opinion or staff opinion
    • None take account of local missions or national goals
    • The journals that are included for assessing academic citations are overwhelmingly in English, predominantly American and mostly owned and managed by commercial interests (no books)
    • Thomson Corporation (that owns and manages the Indices (ISI) used to measure publications outputs), Quacquarelli Symonds, The Times newspaper are all interlocking commercial interests controlling the flow of highly unscientific information about universities but the latter keep citing them !!
shanghai jiao tong technological university criteria for ranking of universities 2007
Shanghai Jiao Tong Technological UniversityCriteria for ranking of Universities 2007
  • 5 criteria were used in 2007–Only published articles, all books are excluded
  • ·10% for Nobel laureates among graduates (chemistry, physics, medicine, economics and Fields Medals in maths) 5 subjects only
  • ·20% for Nobel laureates awarded to current staff in above 5 areas
  • ·20% for Articles in two science-related journals Nature and Science
  • ·20% for Highly cited researchers in 21 areas (all 21 subject areas bar one, and part of another, are in science or technology).
  • ·20% for Articles in Science Citation Index-expanded and Social Science Citation Index (many of the prestigious journals in the social sciences are not listed)
  • ·10% for overall academic performance: weighted scores on the above five indices divided by full-time equivalent academic staff members
  • ·Total 100%
  • Issues: Books not included -yet in the arts/humanities/social sciences (AHSS) –at least 50% of publications are in book form – women are disproportionately employed in AHSS
  • Most large universities are mixed disciplinary institutions – ceteris paribus, highly specialised science-related institutions are ranked higher
  • The methodology of the Jiao Tong league table system is at
  • Authors themselves do not even claim it is objective!
times higher education so called world rankings 2007
Times Higher Education so-called ‘World Rankings’ 2007
  • Breach of the most basic scientific principle: access to the methodology employed is not available (see the paper by Prof. Simon Marginson*, Professor of Higher Education, University of Melbourne,16th Annual New Zealand, International Education Conference, 8-10th of August, Christchurch, 2007)
    • 40% of grade is based on a ‘peer review exercise’ by Qs – Quacquarelli Symonds – ‘contacted 3,703 academics around the world’ asked to name their top 30 universities in their fields: We have no idea how were these sampled nor how they counted and weighted? *The better the marketing the higher the standing (Marginson, 2007)
    • 10% based on graduate 736 ‘international’recruiters’ Who are these?Why these?
    • 20% for staff student ratio: dividing student numbers by staff numbers- ‘staff who have a regular contractual relationship’ Who knows what is counted here in terms of staffing?
    • 20% for citations measured by Thompson Scientific in Philadelphia and divided by staff numbers (only journal articles are counted)
    • 5% for the % of overseas staff; 5% for the % overseas students
    • Total: 100%
    • Question: Why are Irish universities using highly unscientific and academically biased methods to assess themselves?
german model of university evaluation
German Model of University Evaluation
  • Centre for Higher Education and Development (CHE) and the German Academic Exchange Service (using the publisher Die Zeit) have developed a model of evaluation now used in Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Flanders
    • In Germany CHE Surveys 130,000 students and 16,000 staff on student experiences and satisfaction and academic recommendations on good departments in different fields. 36 subjects are covered. It uses other independent data sources to complement the survey but none directly from the universities.
    • It does not rank universities but locates them individually across a range of areas including teaching, diversity, quality of student experience, etc.
    • It avoids the flaws of holistic educational indicators and the inappropriateness of creating inappropriate ordinal scales, and it includes a wide range of disciplines
    • Data is available free of charge on an interactional web-enabled data base; students can create their own ‘rankings’ based on their priorities
    • The normative power of comparison is shifted from the ranking agencies (currently commercial interests) to the student and academic staff who know the universities/colleges
  • Source: Usher, A. and Savino, M 2006, A World of Difference; a global survey of university league tables, accessed November 13th 2007 at
delivering the neo liberal agenda new managerialism
Delivering the neo-liberal agenda: new managerialism
  • Management systems focus on the product of education rather than the process:
    • Success judged by measurable performances (rankings of colleges and people)
    • Efficiency prioritised over equality of access, participation and outcome
    • Market accountability replaces democratic responsibility
  • Discourse of new managerialism implies greater opportunities for gender equality in management – new opportunities in a more ‘rational’ ‘open’ system
  • Yet Senior managers are defined in practice as people with 24/7 time for the organisation: ‘ZERO-LOAD’ Worker
  • New managerialism assumes a Rational Economic Actor (REA) model of the citizen; ignores the reality of the Universal Carer and Cared-for Citizen who has to combine paid and care work and who is in need of care
the senior appointments study
The Senior Appointments Study
  • A set of 23 case studies of senior appointments at primary, second-level, further education, higher education and the civil service (50 interviews in all)
  • 7 top level appointments in higher education were examined –the process of selection including job definitions, selection criteria, short listing, the interview process etc.
  • At least one key assessor and each appointee were interviewed in each case
  • 14 persons in all (gender balanced)
findings new managerialism vs education as development 2 competing discourses
Findings: new managerialism vs. education as development – 2 competing discourses
  • New managerial discourse – education is defined as a commodity – focus on productivity & assessment by measurable outputs for students and staff
  • Education as development discourse – education defined as a public service -focus on development of students, on process as well as product
  • 2 models of the citizen informing the 2 models of management – Rational Economic Actor (REA) Model and an Education as Development, Care-informed, (EDC) Model (premised on the notion of education as a right and a public service)
  • Differences between education sectors:
    • New Managerial policies are in an ascendant position in higher education while the ‘Education as Development’ model is still prevailing in the primary sector but less so in the 2nd level-sector
care less cultures in higher education work without time boundaries
Care-less cultures in higher education: work without time boundaries
  • And to be quite honest, I mean, since I came into the post I’d say on average I work an 85 hour week, between 75 and 85 hours a week….You do work phenomenal hours and you are probably hearing this as well from school principals. That is another issue for women who still have caring responsibilities. I mean I don’t, …(Senior female post holder higher education and an assessor)
  • I was working pretty much seven days a week, or six and a ½ days a week, and my stated objective was to get down to five days a week while doing the other things.. (Senior male post holder in higher education)
  • Also in universities for women faculty members the fact that most promotion now prioritises research means that it is very, very difficult for …women to be able to devote the amount of time that seems to be necessitated for producing research and publications…I really think that society needs to remodel how it looks at work(Senior female post holder, higher education)
New Managerialism in Action in Higher Education: having children: deciding not to have children – a women’s issue
  • It broke my heart so that was the end.. and I determined, no more children, I just couldn’t cope with it, it was heartbreaking. I didn’t feel that I could tell them that I was breastfeeding and I needed a cup of tea or a glass of water or something. ….. But they were very kind decent people, I’m not saying for a second, this wasn’t bias or anything it’s just that they had never faced this…(Female senior post holder speaking about holding a senior post and returning from maternity leave). ….
  • I mean it was a big influence in only having one, I never had another one and it wasn’t because…[personal reasons given] but I made a conscious decision that I couldn’t get tenure and be pregnant and have a second child, it was just not going to happen. (Female senior post holder at a higher education institution)
  • …Well we don’t have kids so that made it a lot easier. You wouldn’t maybe make a decision as quickly if you had a family to move around ….(Female senior post holder at a higher education institution)
management culture in higher education hiding care and facing the consequences
Management culture in higher education: Hiding care and facing the consequences

Being the primary carer, parenting alone and hiding it

  • I didn’t find that very easy and I didn’t feel comfortable asking for any sort of accommodation to be made for it and indeed I didn’t ask for accommodation to be made for it. But there would have been times when it would have been nice to manage things like my son being ill or this kind of stuff because he was quite young. (Female senior post holder in higher education)

Selection criteria that ignore care realities - for women

  • …It has tended to be very criteria-based and once you go criteria-based, you tend to get out of that [direct discrimination]. However, of course by the mere fact that you are looking for management experience in terms of criteria…you may in itself be limiting your field, ….not that many women have come, they are coming now slowly through the system. There are less women with that experience so you are by definition excluding them……In my optimistic days I think it is changing slightly, not hugely I think it is still very much a male -dominated society...(Female assessor for senior posts at a higher education institution).
accepting the new managerial culture
Accepting the new managerial culture

The higher you go, the reality is that theoptions are much starker … the reality is the buck stops with you. So the mobile phone rings at 11 o’clock at night; the jobs at a particular level, they simply are very significant life choice issues in that you actually are taking on a whole range of responsibilities and commitments rather than a schedule of time’

(Male Assessor & Senior Post holder)

  • Under new managerialism there is a growing focus on measured performance regardless of care costs to people in senior management and to those who work with them
  • A Care-Less view of Senior Managers becomes the norm as one moves up in seniority in higher education; 24/7 culture of paid work –
  • Care-less manager model is excluding primary carers, the majority of whom are women
  • A Care Ceiling is in operation which is replacing the glass ceiling (direct and indirect discrimination) undermined by employment equality legislation
  • Consequences:
  • ‘Care Commanders’ make decisions in HE - As our Domain Assumptions (arising from our biography) influence our Paradigmatic Assumptions – research and teaching priorities are set by those who are free-riders on others’ every-day care work
  • What is being eroded under new managerialism and neo-liberalism is not only the idea of education as a right and a public service but an ethos of care in relation to students and staff
policy issues
Policy Issues
  • Assessing the merits of HE- Need holistic modes of evaluation that are truly independent and not driven by commercial interests
      • Not everything of value can be easily measured
      • Criteria should include measures of input/resources, diversity of intake, quality of student and staff experiences, an equality index for students and staff, views of stakeholders including civil society, research profile, and public (non-profit) contributions to society including Lifelong learning
  • Issues for women and primary carers
    • Need pro-care policies in society and in universities if women are to become leaders in HE – in MIT and other leading US universities most senior faculty women have no children (Bailyn, 2003); increasingly happening in Australia (Probert, 2005)
    • Care-less cultures are anti-women and anti-care – built on the REA model of the citizen rather than a Universal Carer and Care receiving model
    • Educare = to nurture
care less cultures deny our deep dependencies and interdependencies as human beings
Care-less cultures deny our deep dependencies and interdependencies as human beings
  • ‘While conditioned in fundamentally significant ways by cultural considerations, dependency for humans is as unavoidable as birth and death are for all living organisms. We may even say that the long maturation process of humans, combined with the decidedly human capacity for moral feeling and attaching, make caring for dependents a mark of humanity.’ (Kittay,E. Love Labor, 1999: 29).