Are Australia’s universities in deficit? A tale of generic managers, audit culture, and casualisation

Kimber, Megan & Ehrich, Lisa C. (2015) Are Australia’s universities in deficit? A tale of generic managers, audit culture, and casualisation. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 37(1), pp. 83-97.

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Managerial changes to Australian universities have had considerable impact on employees. In this paper we consider some of these changes and apply a theory known as the democratic deficit to them. This theory was developed from the democratic critique of managerialism, as it has been applied in the public sector in countries with Westminster-type political systems. This deficit covers the weakening of accountability through politicisation, the denial of public values through the use of private sector performance practices, and the hollowing out of the state through the contracting out and privatisation of public goods and services, and the redefinition of citizens as customers and clients. We suggest that the increased power of managers, expansion of the audit culture, and the extensive use of contract employment seem to be weakening the democratic culture and role of universities in part by replacing accountability as responsibility with accountability as responsiveness.

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ID Code: 81598
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Published online Feb 2015.
The embargo on the accepted manuscript version will expire on August 2016.
Keywords: Democratic deficit, Audit culture, Casualisation, Universities, Managerialism, HERN
DOI: 10.1080/1360080X.2014.991535
ISSN: 1469-9508
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Administration Management and Leadership (130304)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Association for Tertiary Education Management and the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management
Copyright Statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management on 02 Feb 2015, available online:
Deposited On: 04 Feb 2015 23:16
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2016 15:32

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