University administrators are increasingly using a range of metrics to evaluate the “quality” of work being undertaken at their institutions. The unit of analysis for these assessments varies from Department (England), field of research (Australia), and the like, but inevitably the assessment works its way to individual researchers. This poses a major challenge for administrators and even more so for researchers. Shifts in institutional policy to meet the challenges of funding and reputation/esteem of rising in the ranks raise a number of questions concerning the temporality and value of academic labor. Notably, decisions about the worth of academic labor are often well removed from the undertaking of that labor and this separation removes the human side of scholarly work and reduces knowledge production to numerical indicators and the achievement of key performance indicators. In this chapter I draw on shifts in an institution’s policy position and the impact that this has on researchers. Particularly I explore the implications of historically mapping research performance using different metrics than were available at the time and expecting researchers to adopt alternate strategies immediately (irrespective of delays in the publication process). Although I do not doubt that administrator decisions are arguably made in the best interests of advancing the institutions position in the increasingly global academy, the presentism of such strategies is in many ways at odds with the long-term focus of building coherent and sophisticated research programs. Alternate means of understanding the challenges and tensions of administrator strategy has the potential to impact on policy and the development of programs for current and aspiring researchers.
Eacott, S. (2016), "Performance ≠ Leadership: Shifting Institutional Research Performance", The Dark Side of Leadership: Identifying and Overcoming Unethical Practice in Organizations (Advances in Educational Administration, Vol. 26), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 177-194. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-366020160000026011Download as .RIS
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