Corporate Values Take Over UK HE (and everywhere else)


“There appears to be a substantial gulf between the ‘assumptive worlds’ inhabited by university principals and vice-chancellors and the academic staff whom they are leading,”

“The pervasiveness of corporate culture is manifest in many ways: in endless restructurings and policy documents (often written in a bizarre corporate ‘pidgin’); in a form of managed consensus which treats principled dissent as a thought-crime; and, most worryingly, in the replacement of truth by loyalty as the prime institutional value.”

“Universities’ administrative staff may pay “lip service” to liberal concepts of education, but corporate strategy has gradually become the key driver of higher education policy.”

“This is not entirely surprising, since the ‘reference groups’ whose approval they seek speak the language of money, targets, research excellence, skills and international profile, rather than the language of students, courses, learning and disinterested pursuit of knowledge,”

Sound familiar? This was written by  Walter Hume, Research Professor in Education at the University of West Scotland. More details can be found in the THE article on his new paper “Tribalism And Competitive branding in Higher education”.

These few paragraphs seem to me a succinct description of what has happened to the UK not just in Higher Education but everywhere! In the Health Service, in social services, in the Arts, in Publishing,  everywhere.

I Am Not A Number

Political and Philosophical Dispatches From An Individual Living In A Society

corporate democracy economics freedom left-wing libertarian managerialism moral philosophy politics radical socialist society

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2 responses to “Corporate Values Take Over UK HE (and everywhere else)

  1. Should we be surprised that Corporate Think has invaded Higher Education. The whole ethos has infected EVERY aspect of life on this Planet. Everything is profit and market driven. In this Reality students are just consumers , and education is a commodity,no different from mobile phines or potatoes. The whole idea that education is merely a means to getting a higher salary, rather than a means in itself, justifies this mindset.The market has no truck with idealism, culture,compassion, altruism or morality. It sees ‘customers’ and only wants the ones who turn a good profit.

  2. Couldn’t agree more. This is at the core of the ideological battle that we are currently fighting. Am I just a “human resource” for some business? Is my only function in life to slog my guts out to generate profit for already wealthy people? The idea that there are values that are far more important than economic or financial value; values such as liberty, equality and fraternity for example.

    The interesting thing is that most traditional English Conservatives are themselves very big on “values”; values such as love of country, love of tradition, love of family and love of place, regard for security and social order over innovation, regard for hard work and self-sacrifice. What they don’t seem to realise is that there is no place for any of these values under freemarket hyper-capitalism. They have constructed a narrative in which the destruction of their values is the result of rabid lefties and sandal wearing liberals but their world is being destroyed by the relentless inhumane logic of the freemarket just as much as my dreams of a welfare state. The insinuation of narrow managerialist, corporate values into every aspect of our lives is the greatest intellectual and spiritual tragedy of the last 30 years.

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