Experiences of arbitrary management among Finnish academics in an era of academic capitalism
Nikkola, T., & Tervasmäki, T. (2022). Experiences of arbitrary management among Finnish academics in an era of academic capitalism. Journal of Education Policy, 37(4), 548-568. https://doi.org/10.1080/02680939.2020.1854350
Published inJournal of Education Policy
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by InformaUK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
For the last two decades, Finnish universities have faced the implementation of new systems of control and undergone dramatic changes that have worsened academic working conditions – such as corporatisation and budget cuts. This article explores Finnish academics’ experiences of university reforms with a special focus on the consequences it has had in terms of organisational socio-dynamics. We adapt Glynos and Howarth’s logics of critical explanation and apply this theoretical framework to analyse the interviews of academics who, against their own will, did not have their contracts renewed. This approach describes, explains, and criticises the logics – which are social, political and fantasmatic – behind the existence, continuation, and transformation of practices that are very real. Our research findings suggest that there are situations in which experiences of opaque management may occur at university. Academics often found the decision-making processes to be unpredictable and ambiguous, leading to a precarious working atmosphere. Combining the logics approach with micro-level data analysis, we developed the concept of arbitrary management, offering new perspectives for understanding the mediation between social practices and structural reforms. This micro-political analysis provides a new take on how ideologies operate at university in an era of academic capitalism. ...
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