Few of us can have avoided the Corporate Mind, the kind of person who puts the organisation that employs them before the person, regardless of any sense of fairness or justice. For these institutionalised individuals rules are rules, KPI is an acronym they enjoy saying (worse, they believe in the concept), the person is no more than a resource whose value is only ever measured in financial terms. Hence the problems we have with banks, credit card companies, government institutions, and now universities too.
For examples of the Corporate Mind we need look no further than the SMT and its members’ obsessions with league tables, NSS results, performance, and plastic education prizes awarded by newspapers, yet with a complete disregard for the welfare of the staff they manage, exemplified by the treatment of principal lecturers and the staff hounded from their jobs during the purges two or three years ago.
It is perhaps ironic that Ratty should have this kind of mind, especially as he knows better than most about the extreme version of this dehumanisation. Yet he relegates each of us to below what he regards as the welfare of the corporation, failing to understand that demoralising the staff will undermine any useful initiatives he comes up with. Is he so insensitive that he has no apprehension of the effect his policies have on us? More likely he has no interest or sympathy. The grim results of the last staff survey a couple of years ago raised no concern from Kingston’s management; the sole response was a blandishment to communicate better. It is no surprise that no further staff survey has taken place.
So here we are at the start of another year. Staff are under greater threat than ever. Schools are in “special measures”, student satisfaction (not their education, note) is our responsibility, paperwork proliferates, the hurdle of the “Teaching Excellence Framework” looms. Beware of phrases that contain words like framework and excellence: they are the product of the Corporate Mind.