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Monday, June 28, 2010

Subtle and subterranean in nature

Playing their game: an exploration of academic resistance in the managerial university

This thesis explores the phenomenon of academics’ resistance to materialism in Australian universities. In common with many other public sector employees, academics have experienced significant changes in the management of their institutions over recent years. Many of these changes are associated with increasing ‘managerialism’ – the application of methods and approaches commonly associated with the private sector, to public sector organizations. While previous studies indicate that academics are broadly opposed to such changes, little Australian research has considered how they might be resisting managerialism, in their daily working lives. The study found that academics were resisting managerial practices in a variety of ways. These included public acts of protest, refusal and more ‘everyday’ forms of resistance, such as avoidance and strategic compliance. This resistance was underpinned by shared understandings, values and norms embedded within traditional academic culture, and reflected academics’ negative assessments of the consequences of managerial practices within their institutions.