Failing the challenge of institutional evaluation: How and why managerialism flourishes

Cuthbert, R. (2011) Failing the challenge of institutional evaluation: How and why managerialism flourishes. In: Bamber, V., Trowler, P. and Saunders, M., eds. (2011) Reconceptualising Evaluative Practice in Higher Education. Buckingham: Open University Press. ISBN 9780335241613 Available from:

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Governments spending billions and individuals spending thousands of pounds on higher education (HE) rightly expect accountability for how the money is used. But pressure for accountability has accelerated the spread of managerialism, jeopardising rather than improving quality and posing dilemmas for managers trying to reconcile internal and external pressures. In the managerialist dialectic, unthinking resistance meets unthinking control, an unwinnable battle between the stereotypes of ‘academic populism’ and ‘new managerialism’ (Watson 200, 2009:77). Managers and staff could respond more effectively to the challenge of evaluation by thinking differently about managing, to find social practices embodying the values needed to transcend managerialist pressures. In this chapter I use the case of league tables and draw on theory and practice (including my own experience as Pro and Deputy Vice-Chancellor in a large ‘mid-table’ university) to sketch an alternative approach.

Item Type:Book Section
Additional Information:This material is reproduced with the kind permission of the Open University Press.
Uncontrolled Keywords:league table, university rankings, managerialism, institutional evaluation
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education > Department of Education and Childhood
ID Code:12321
Deposited By: Professor R. Cuthbert
Deposited On:13 Jan 2011 16:41
Last Modified:19 Jul 2017 16:36

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