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SEMINAR: The pervasive force of academics bureaucratizatio

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Today's date is Tuesday, July 16, 2019
The pervasive force of academics bureaucratizatio : An analysis of the use of ‘key selection criteria’ at Australian universities Other events...
Over recent decades, tensions in the ways universities are organized and operate have become increasingly apparent. On the one hand, universities have ostensibly endeavoured to move away from traditional bureaucratic modes of governance, aiming to reduce ‘red tape’ in the process. Yet over the same period, there has been growing concern internationally about everencroaching “academic bureaucratization” (Gornitzka, Kyvik, & Larsen, 1998), with the administrative dimensions of academic work apparently becoming “ever more formalized, complicated, bureaucratic and time-consuming” (Martin, 2016, 14). To this date, however, there is a lack of systematic empirical research into this ‘new’ bureaucratic phenomenon. To address the resulting lacuna, this paper pioneers a novel way of investigating academic bureaucratization, through systematically scrutinizing some of those documents and devices which themselves co-constitute bureaucratic practices. The specific case investigated are the ‘Key Selection Criteria’ (KSC) commonly used at Australian universities for the purpose of hiring academic staff. Drawing on analyses of 273 sets of KSC, the paper finds, among other things, that the number of KSC job applicants have to address in writing are unreasonably high by all standards, as is the proportion of KSC that are redundant in terms of content, or which have a purely performative or rhetorical function (e.g., having ‘a high work ethic’; or ‘an interest in academic work such as teaching and research’). Taken together, these findings pinpoint one striking manifestation of the inconspicuous yet pervasive dynamics of bureaucratization reshaping academic work today. However, it is finally argued, the phenomena investigated also indicate, at least indirectly, that academic staff have been complicit in the normalization and reproduction of mechanisms of bureaucratization.
Speaker(s) Dr Peter Woelert
Location UWA Social Sciences building, room 2.63
Contact Flavia Bellieni Zimmermann <flavia.zimmermann@research.uwa.edu.au >
Start Tue, 07 May 2019 13:00
End Tue, 07 May 2019 14:00
Submitted by Karen Eichorn <ss@uwa.edu.au>
Last Updated Mon, 06 May 2019 14:06
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