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Oxford Review of Education Vol. 31, No. 2, June 2005, pp.

217235

Management as ideology: the case of new managerialism in higher education


Rosemary Deem*a and Kevin J. Brehonyb
aUniversity

of Bristol, UK;

bUniversity

of Roehampton, UK

RosemaryDeem 0 2 School 00000June of EducationUniversity 2005 of BristolHelen Wodehouse Building, 35 Berkeley SquareBristolBS8 1JAUKr.deem@bristol.ac.uk 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)/05/02021719 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 haswith just one or two exceptionsfought 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 ideologys 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. Barnetts 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.

Management as ideology 219 Our conception of ideology also recognises a connection with language and discourse, whilst not adopting a Foucauldian notion of discourse. Discourse has multiple meanings and conceptualisations of the relations between ideology, language and discourse are often highly abstract (Thompson, 1984; Eagleton, 1991; Dijk, 1998) but relevant to our task in this paper. Eagleton writes that it is best to see ideology, less as a particular set of discourses than as particular effects within discourses (Eagleton, 1991, p. 194). Having set out our conception of ideology, 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. 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. The debate hinges on two different concepts of new forms of public management. The first concept is new managerialism, best understood as an ideological configuration of ideas and practices recently brought to bear on public service organisation, management and delivery, often at the behest of governments or government agencies (Enteman, 1993; Clarke & Newman, 1997; Exworthy & Halford, 1999; Cutler & Waine, 2000; Reed, 2002). New managerialism is in competition with an alternative concept of new public management (Dunleavy & Hood, 1994; Hood, 1995; Hood & Scott, 1996; Pollitt, 1999; Manning, 2000; Pollitt & Bouckaert, 2000) which is seen by protagonists as defining new forms of administrative orthodoxy about how public services are run and regulated. There appear to be two main differences between these rival concepts. First, debates about new public management are often linked to debates in economics about public choice theory, which focus on advocating and developing less bureaucratic forms of public service organisation and introducing quasi-markets for public services (Frederickson, 1991; Bailey, 1993; Hughes, 1994). By contrast, 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, 1997; Exworthy & Halford, 1999; Farrell & Morris, 2003). Secondly, 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, 1996), rather than as an ideological phenomenon. 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, whilst the range of political persuasions of western governments adopting new public management is much wider than this (Pollitt, 2003). By contrast, 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; Exworthy and Halford 1999; Farrell and Morris 2003).

220 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony Those who prefer the concept of new public management share a consensus that the cluster of ideas, values and practices has evolved into something of a new international and technical administrative orthodoxy. New managerialism theorists, however, conceive management as a political, not merely a technical activity (Clarke & Newman, 1997; Exworthy & Halford, 1999; Farrell & Morris, 2003). Like new public management, however, new managerialism is also defined in contrast to public bureaucracies and the bureau-professional power over service-users supposedly evident in these (Mintzberg, 1983). For adherents of both concepts, 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; Deem 1994) and fragmentation of service delivery (Reed, 1995; Hoggett, 1996). In the remainder of our analysis we want to concentrate on new managerialism and its ideological connotations, for public service managers in general and higher education managers in particular. Characteristics of new managerialism in organisations include: the erasure of bureaucratic rule-following procedures; emphasising the primacy of management above all other activities; monitoring employee performance (and encouraging selfmonitoring too); the attainment of financial and other targets, devising means of publicly auditing quality of service delivery and the development of quasi-markets for services (Le Grand & Bartlett, 1993). New configurations of the public and the private are glossed as partnerships and include outsourcing services like catering, and private finance initiatives for new public buildings (McKendrick, 2002). There is a heavy emphasis on importing ideas and practices from the private world of business into the world of public service, on the assumption that the latter are superior to the former. Efficiency and effectiveness are extensively pursued in the field of service delivery (Farrell & Morris, 2003) and labour-force restructuring is advocated to enable more team-work (Vogt, 2001) and flexibility. Finally, new managerialism is associated with new kinds of imposed external accountability, including the widespread use of performance indicators and league tables, target-setting, benchmarking and performance management (Kirkpatrick & Lucio, 1995; Power, 1997). The manner in which the proponents of new managerialism, such as governments, funding agencies and consultants seek to establish organisational, managerial and cultural changes through a regime of managerial discipline and control within widely different public services (Reed, 1995, 1999, 2002), has led to new managerialism being seen by theorists as a general ideology, though this does not mean it is a monolithic ideology. 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. New managerial ideology legitimises and seeks to extend the right to manage (Clarke et al., 2000, p. 9) to public service organisations previously the domain of trusted autonomous professionals using considerable discretion. It is the legitimation of management for its own sake that is claimed to be new (Pollitt, 1993), since analyses of management ideologies are certainly not in themselves novel (Burnham, 1941). The term new must be treated with some caution, since there is evidence of

Management as ideology 221 changes connected with new managerialism dating back to at least the early 1980s, including in higher education (Deem, 2004). Furthermore, 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), in other services, including education, and social work, managers have typically been drawn from the ranks of professionals themselves (Farrell & Morris, 2003). 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. 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 Lukcs, Gramsci and Mannheim. Central to this conception is the notion that cognitions, beliefs and theories express the interests of a particular class. In this conception of ideology, 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 ideologys function as a cement that enables class unity. One difficulty in applying this conception of ideology to new managerialism is that managers are not conventionally, either in Marxist theory or other social theory, regarded as a social class. Where, as in higher education, it is professionals themselves who take on management roles, the class belonging-ness notion is very problematic. However, Barrett has argued that ideology could apply equally to a variety of social groups which exercise forms of social power and domination (Barrett, 1991). Clearly, senior managers in a particular public service, such as higher education, may well regard themselves or be regarded as, part of social groups from the dominant classes, even if they do not in any sense themselves constitute a class. The discussion of new managerialism as an ideology expressing the interests of managers also raises questions about why that expression should occur. It may be because the ideology happens to function in a way that advances or defends those managers interests. Andrews argues that managers are one of the fastest growing social groups, with 60% of the UK population now defining themselves as managers (Andrews, 1998). His argument rests mainly on a social determination of knowledge view: the ethos of the new managers, reared by Thatcher (Conservative Prime Minister 19791989) and socialised into maturity by Blair (current UK Prime Minister), has become the new common sense of politics itself. 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, 1998). In this assertion, Andrews evades the question of the precise origin of new managerialist ideas, except to imply that they had something to do with the Conservative administration in Britain from 1979 to the end of the 1980s. In the case of academics in management roles, it seems highly unlikely that the ideas of new managerialism originated with them, since in the UK at least, most new managerial permeation of

222 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony universities can be attributed to external factors such as state policies and funding regimes (Deem, 2004). On the question of the origin of managerial ideology, Burnhams 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, 1941). Only if origins are seen as central to the characterisation of ideology does a search for them possess any significance. Thus while there are grounds for arguing that Osborne and Gaeblers book Reinventing government delineates some of the main characteristics of the new managerialist ideology, the authors cite antecedents for their ideas such as Peter Drucker and W. Edwards Deming (Osborne & Gaebler, 1993). 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. Newman and Clarke identify the social location of new managerialist ideology in a somewhat circular fashion, that is: management conceived of as a social group which lays claim to social and organisational power through managerialism (Clarke & Newman, 1994, p. 13). It is claimed, in a way that treats ideology as a social agent, that new managerialism has reshaped or recast, the contexts and the frames of referenceindeed the very languagewithin which decisions about public services are made (Clarke & Newman, 1994, p. 228). 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. The interests of managers cannot be simply read off from an all-embracing category; this requires both historical and empirical elucidation, as we shall see later when we examine the accounts given by academics in management roles. We turn now to MacIntyres critique of managerial expertise, which is still highly relevant to contemporary debates about managers and their expression of ideological interests. MacIntyres 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. 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 managements sake) and for some, what it signifies is not all that new (Hood, 1998). 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, 1941; Alvesson & Deetz, 1999). So extensive are the similarities that MacIntyres critique of what he termed managerial fictions has much relevance to a critique of new managerialism. Significantly, MacIntyre conceived of an ideology as expressing the most appropriate mode of justification for the activities of bureaucrats (MacIntyre, 1985). The claims of managers to authority, power and money, he wrote, rests on their competence and expertise. His central charge was that What managerial expertise requires

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, 1985, p. 88). MacIntyres view is that such generalisations are not possible due to the difference between the objects of study in the natural and social sciences. Hence the grounds for managers claim to competence are untenable (though this does not stop such claims being made). This critique of positivism is a familiar one but it does not lessen its significance. As Hood points out, the field of the history of ideas of public management suggests that there is no idea about how to organize that is not contestable, no doctrine that cannot be countered by a contradictory doctrine (Hood, 2000, p. 13). Earlier we mentioned that our notion of ideology invokes not only relations of power and domination, which we have now explored with reference to new managerialism but also language and discourse, to which we now turn in order to examine their relationship to new managerialism. 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. For Legge, Human Resource Management (HRM), much drawn upon by new managerialist practitioners in organisations, is a rhetoric (Legge, 1995). She places emphasis upon how the language of HRM is an instrument of cultural change in which normative and descriptive elements are confused. Some theorists argue that all language is performative and rhetorical (Medvedev & Bakhtin, 1978) and hence ideological but as Eagleton argues, it should not be concluded therefore that all language is rhetorical to exactly the same degree (Eagleton, 1991). Arguments about rhetoric often contrast it to reality. This raises the question of whether the change in language reflects changes in reality or whether it is language that changes, not reality. A further possibility is that language is to varying degrees, constitutive of reality. 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. The creation of new layers of management and the introduction of performance management, league tables and targets, for example, are not simply discursive. Furthermore, new managerialist language asserts that the solution to all public service problems is management. New managerialism generalises the language of business. It is heavily inflected by technical metaphors, many borrowed from engineering, such as best practice and business process re-engineering (Hood, 2000). It also shapes the identities and the views of organisational actors. In the old English song, the Vicar of Bray, a narrative is presented of how, through several regime changes, the Vicar retained his position and power by adapting the language and ideologies of each different regime. One lesson of the song is that whilst language may change, it does not mean that ideological commitment has been secured. In order to inquire further into management as ideology, we turn for illustrative purposes to an analysis of a recent research project on the management of higher education organisations.

224 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony The ESRC New Managerialism Project The study, which is used to illustrate some of the theoretical points already made in the paper, involved a multi-disciplinary team,1 was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant no R000237661 and based at Lancaster University from 19982000. The remit of the project was to examine the extent to which new managerialism was perceived to have permeated the management of UK universities. The first stage of the research used focus group discussions with academics, managers and administrators from UK learned societies and professional bodies to find out what respondents perceived was currently happening to the management of universities. 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. These included several pre-1992 universities, that is, higher education institutions with a charter to award degrees, ranging from redbrick and civic institutions to 1960s universities, and a number of post-1992 universities, which were formerly polytechnics under the control of local government but which became independent incorporated institutions in 1989 and universities in 1992 (Pratt, 1997). The interviews explored the backgrounds, current management practices and perceptions of respondents. In the final stage of the project, 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, including secretaries, library staff and technicians.

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. Four models of new managerialism taken from research on the UK National Health Service reforms in the late 1980s (Ferlie et al., 1996), were used to help make sense of the data and the changes respondents claimed were occurring. Though this may seem less appropriate than using concepts specifically arising from research on education, Ferlie et al.s ideas proved a more practicable way of exploring the extent of permeation of new managerialism than the more abstract analyses (Clarke & Newman, 1997) utilised in shaping the research design. 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, 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, was introduced to the NHS in the government reforms of public services in the late 1980s by the Thatcher government. It involves greater or enhanced service provision without a concomitant increase in resources or staffing. The efficiency model was perceived by almost all our respondents as having significantly permeated universities, which have moved in a decade from an lite system taking only a tiny percentage of the relevant age group to a mass system admitting around

Management as ideology 225 40% of all 18-year-olds. The second model emphasises downsizing and decentralisation. There was no evidence of downsizing in 19982000 in UK higher education when the fieldwork was conducted. However, 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. A number of mergers of institutions have been mooted. There was evidence of some decentralisation. This included devolved department budgets or cost centres and internal markets for space and services such as libraries and computing. However, according to many of our respondents, devolution of budgets was limited in its effects. Academic departments got responsibility for not incurring overspends but could not, even if their budget was in surplus, hire new staff without resort to a central university committee. The third model is that of the learning organisation (Easterby-Smith et al., 1999) in which there is emphasis on cultural change, team-work, empowerment of employees and strategic scanning of the horizon. Many manager-academic respondents in phase two reported attempts at cultural change. Senior post-holders such as Vice Chancellors claimed to be engaged in strategic activity, though research on the gap between such claims and the actual practices of VCs suggest reactive firefighting is more usual (Bargh et al., 2000). An increase in team-work in academic departments was mentioned in the focus groups but rather less by manageracademics. However, there was some evidence of the existence of informal team structures such as faculty or senior management teams, which Marginson and Considine argue are also becoming increasingly important in Australian universities (Marginson & Considine, 2000). Empowerment was scarcely mentioned by any respondent. The final model, an internally-generated endeavour to provide a new value-basis for public services, with greater involvement of service users in a dialogue with service providers (Ranson & Stewart, 1994) was not mentioned by any respondent. So the features of new managerialism most evident in UK higher education appeared to be: changes to the funding environment, academic work and workloads (more students, a smaller unit of resource per student and pressure to do both teaching and research to a high standard); more emphasis on team work in both teaching and research, partly in response to external audit; the introduction of cost-centres to university departments or faculties; greater internal and external surveillance of the performance of academics and an increase in the proportion of managers, both career administrators and manager-academics, in universities. 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. In the main, the features of new managerialism are perceived to have been externally imposed on higher education institutions, rather than being internally generated by managers. However, this also needs to be seen in the light of our earlier discussion of rhetoric and reality. 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.

226 R. Deem and K. J. 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. In the case under discussion, 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. In this context it is also important to be aware of the complex composition of the academic workforce, because it underlines the improbability of manager-academics constituting a class by themselves or having identical interests. Divisions between academics are particularly connected to traditional disciplinary/subject boundaries (Becher & Trowler, 2001), although some blurring of these has occurred as interdisciplinary work has become more popular. Other divisions include gender (Brooks, 1997; Eggins, 1997; Morley, 1999; Brooks & Mackinnon, 2001) ethnicity (Modood & Acland, 1996; Carter et al., 1999) and different pay levels and contracts (Bett Report, 1999), with about 50% of academic staff in the UK not having a permanent appointment. 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, 2000; Deem, 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). 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, 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. 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, 1985). The issue of the extent to which manager-academics identify with new managerialism and see their interests as represented by it also varies. Here the issue of language is crucial. Gewirtz, Ball and Bowe in their study of markets in schools suggest that headteachers are often bi-lingual (Gewirtz et al., 1995, pp. 96109). The authors argue that the language talked in state secondary schools in England has shifted towards a greater concern with products, corporate images, finance managers, marketing groups, poaching of pupils and the like, 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., 1995, pp. 9697). They suggest that the language shift is indicative of a shift in values informing management decision making in schools, which also includes moving away from concern with the less able pupil towards instrumental short-term academic goals such as pupil performance in examinations. Gewirtz et al. (1995) also cite Clarke and Newmans point

Management as ideology 227 that Not to be able to speak management leaves one marginal, disenfranchised or rendered speechlessusing words no longer recognised (Clarke & Newman, 1992, pp. 1920). However, Gewirtz et al. also suggest that more traditional values about education have not entirely disappeared and that some head teachers are drawing on two sets of ideas, moving between them according to context, and in some cases only grudgingly (if at all) accepting the new emphasis on markets and competition (Gewirtz et al., 1995). We contend that some of this applies to manager-academics tooin fact they may be not just bi-lingual but tri-lingual, drawing on their disciplines or subjects, traditional ideas about humanistic higher education and the new language of performance, targets, competition and audit. However, what is difficult to discern simply from language-usage is how much manager-academics are convinced by the ideologies and values of new managerialism. 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, one possible source of universal generalisations about management (MacIntyre, 1985), was still relatively uncommon, although this situation may be changing with the very recent establishment of a new Leadership Foundation for UK higher education. Only one third of those interviewed had received any significant training for their management roles. So whilst many managers in other fields, both public and private, may have received extensive training, ranging from in-house courses to MBAs, manager-academics generally have not. So their ability to draw on universal theories of management is very limited. Thus their legitimation is often based as much on their academic status and occupational position as on mastery of the theory of management, though since the policy and funding context of UK higher education is replete with new managerialist terms, it is hard to escape this completely. 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, including the use of quantitative indicators of performance in research. The use of consultants, who are often brought in to resolve major problems, such as when an institution experiences major financial difficulties (Deem, 1998) is another important mechanism (Saint-Martin, 1998). 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., 1996). The NHS was always present in higher education in schools of medicine and dentistry but during the last decade or so, schools of nursing have been integrated into many higher education institutions as part of what was known as Project 2000, aimed at making nursing a graduate profession. So it might be surmised that this is another source of higher educations familiarity with new managerial language and ideology. At the same time, it might also be that those who come fresh to academic work are more likely than those who are long-established to

228 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony speak the language of the moment, including discourses of managerialism, almost without realising it. Finally, increased emphasis on external audits of the quality of teaching (Shah and Brennan 2000) and research (Mace, 2000; Harley, 2002) have also familiarised all academics with the language of targets and accountability. However, when we add these multiple sources of new managerial ideas to the divisions within the academic profession, then the prospects of a wide spectrum of reactions to new managerialist ideology become more likely. In the ESRC research, 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.g. Heads of Department). This was especially so where the latter regarded themselves as reluctant managers, 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., 2001). Thus the interests they wished to defend were those as academics qua academics not those of managers. As Trowler has noted in his study of academic responses to change in a university, there are many possible reactions to change (Trowler, 1998). Thus in relation to new managerialism, there may be those who ignore or reject change (often referred to by managers as those who dont live in the real world), those who subvert change for their own purposes, and those who embrace it. This last-named group included most Vice Chancellors and Pro-Vice Chancellors interviewed:
In the [few] years Ive been here [the university] has expanded, its doubled, or more than doubled, the student numbers. If you have that rate of growth and you have enormous complexity of types of degrees, a lot of mature students, part-time students, students coming in for day release, afternoon release, evenings, weekends, you are running, or the institution is running an inherently far more complex set of processes than ever before. Sorry, but you cant do that without management. (VC, 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 dont talk about courses in a sense, we talk about products which we have to sell to students and to industry. Now, thats a cultural shift the days when you were just delivering to students and they liked it or not have gone. Youre delivering to clients now. And youve got to deliver on time, to quality or walk away. And if they walk away theres no income and if theres no income theres no business. If theres no business, theres no job. (HoD, Applied Science, post-1992)

At the same time, other Heads of Department, including many of those from the pure sciences, arts/humanities and social sciences, 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, I think they [vice and pro-vice chancellors] dont trust us, even Heads of Department, they dont trust us completely with money, this is the thing. Im talking about

Management as ideology 229


elementary decisions I think the systems gone too far in that direction even up to the Head of Department, they dont really trust you. (Science learned society focus group)

Those Heads of Department who were doing the job for fixed periods of time, 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, 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, Look Im sure I originally was an academic, but gosh I now feel like an accountant, I spend all my time it seems to me talking about issues about money I think that that change towards internal markets, devolved budgets has actually made an enormous difference to the culture of universities the outlook has changed. 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. They have been actually put in the position of doing something that they were not actually trained to do. So we become managers by default and very often Ive 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, full-time managers who have a different career structure and a different career path. (HoD social sciences pre-1992)

Other manager-academics, however, even amongst those doing the job only temporarily, 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, including status and future careers. Thus they may wish, for example, especially in the pre-1992 universities, to focus on research to the exclusion of other activities such as teaching, as Lucas found in her study of academics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise (Lucas, 2001, 2002) and as was evident in this response from a head of department:
one of the things that I, I did as well is I introduced a, a workload model into the department so people were allocated to bins. Bins is a bad word, categories, as being low, medium or high research rich and correspondingly low, medium or high teaching rich and they/we made it very clear that, 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. You know your categorisation if you dont much want to be a, a high teaching person then this is what you have to do in order to move into a different category. (HoD science, pre-1992)

New Managerialism as a general ideology may be embraced by manager-academics with a variety of views and purposes, not all of which are necessarily to the detriment of teaching and students (earlier, we rejected a view of ideology which sees it as something with negative connotations). Especially in the post-1992 institutions, careermanagers used their power to bring about a focus on students conceived as customers or on widening participation in higher education to disadvantaged groups, 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, Students come first and a member of staff said to me, Well we know thats true but its very tactless of you to rub our noses in it, which I

230 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony


thought was hilarious. And I would say 80% of the organisation breathed a sigh of relief, and that very much includes colleagues who are caretakers, who are cleaners, and also the majority of the academic staff. (VC, post-1992) As a Dean of School what Im currently doing, 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, feel that higher education is for them as well. Its the access, widening participation, that provides the centre-piece of our mission statement, our strategy. (Dean, Humanities and Social Science, post-1992)

A minority of manager-academics appeared more interested in power and their careers than their staff, research or students, 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., 1996). The opportunist manager, like the Vicar of Bray, can become adept at using general ideologies of managerialism and relations of power and dominance, to their own career advantage in power terms:
I do think you actually need Faculties, 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. I mean, 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. If the Dean wants, he can alter the model and say oh no, no, Im going to take some of this from psychology and give it to chemistry and physics. Were 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. (VC pre-1992)

Some senior manager-academics may convince themselves that what they are doing is for the greater good, whilst the same time, general new managerialist ideology serves to legitimate their actions and interests, which are not necessarily the same interests as those of their staff:
Last year, a group of a hundred of my colleagues were offered Premature Retirement Compensation Scheme,3 they werent forced out, they were offered PRCS. 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, they havent fully done what they are paid for doing. (PVC, pre-1992)

Despite the differences of view expressed by manager-academics interviewed, the research findings do suggest that almost all of them are drawing on and using, in some way, a general ideology of new managerialism, though only a few embrace every aspect. Most of them talked the language of new managerialism, though whether this was evidence of mono-lingualism (i.e., did they also hold the underlying values of new managerialism?) was very difficult to discern. In the third phase of the research, case studies were conducted of four universities, comparing the perceptions of manager-academics about how their organisations were managed with those of other academic, administrative, clerical and manual staff. It quickly became evident that senior managers and indeed almost all

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, 2003). Whereas a study of UK social workers, doctors and teachers in and outside management roles found a continuing commitment to carework and the client amongst all (Farrell & Morris, 2003), a commitment to students, for example, was not evident amongst many of the manager-academics interviewed for the ESRC study (Johnson & Deem, 2003). Manager-academics can and do use cultural and social divisions (eg the research-active, the productive, the excellent teachers, the less-competent) to divide and rule amongst their staff. In this sense, new managerial general ideology does assist manager-academics in maintaining relations of power and dominance, whatever the underpinning values of the managers concerned. Conclusion In our opening discussion about ideology, 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, including through the use of language. 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, especially when as in the case of manager-academics, they are primarily drawn from the ranks of academics and are not taken from a special cadre of general managers. However, we did suggest that shared interests about power and domination do cluster in social groups drawn from the dominant classes. 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. 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. This seems to be especially so for those who are in senior positions or hold permanent managerial posts at any level. Many senior manager-academics interviewed, despite most having a background as academics themselves, seemed to assert their right to manage over both academics and other staff, thus suggesting that as a social group, such manager-academics are very interested indeed in maintaining relationships of power and domination. 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. New managerialism has changed and will continue to change what universities do and how they do it; this is very clearly an ideological rather than simply a technical reform of higher

232 R. Deem and K. J. Brehony education and one that is firmly based on interests concerning relations of power and dominance. Acknowledgements An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Developing Philosophy of ManagementCrossing Frontiers Reason in Practice Conference at St Annes College, Oxford, June 2629 2002 and thanks are due to participants in that session for their helpful comments. Notes
1. The team consisted of Rosemary Deem (Director), Oliver Fulton (Co-director), Sam Hillyard (Research Associate), Rachel Johnson (Senior Research Associate), Mike I. Reed (Co-director) and Stephen Watson (Co-director), with Heidi Edmundson as Project Administrator. The project was located in the Department of Educational Research and the Management School at Lancaster University. The term manager-academic refers to academics who take on management roles in higher education institutions, whether temporarily or permanently. Manager-academic is preferred to academic manager since some career administrators such as finance directors also see themselves as academic managers. Premature Retirement Compensation which gives added pensionable years to those retiring early.

2.

3.

Notes on contributors Rosemary Deem is Professor of Education at the University of Bristol. She directed the Economic and Social Research Council funded project New managerialism and the Management of UK universities (19982000) on which part of this paper is based. Recent publications include (2003) Gender, organisational cultures and the practices of manager-academics in UK universities, Gender, Work and Organisation, 10(2) and (2003 with R.N. Johnson) Risking the university? Learning to be a manager-academic in UK Universities, Socresonline http:www.socreslonline.org.uk (3 August). 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, and a Higher Education Funding Council for England project involving case studies of staff experiences of equity policies in six higher education institutions. Kevin Joseph Brehony is Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Roehampton. His research interests include educational ideologies, especially child-centred education, education policy and the origins of education as a subject area. Recent publications include: (2001) From the particular to the general the continuous to the discontinuous: progressive education revisited, History of Education, 30(5); (2002) Researching the grammar of schooling: an historical view, European Educational Research Journal 1(1).

Management as ideology 233 References


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