Gender, power and managerialism in universities

TitleGender, power and managerialism in universities
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsWhite, K, Carvalho, T, Riordan, S
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Start Page179
Date Published03 Mar 2011
KeywordsGender, Management, Managerialism

This article explores the role of senior managers in consolidating and interpreting new managerialism in higher education in Australia, South Africa and Portugal, and perceptions of potential effects on gender. The impact of managerialism on decision-making in Australia was increased centralisation with the Vice Chancellor operating as a Chief Executive Officer; in South Africa tension existed between collegial and managerial models evident in power struggles between Vice Chancellors and faculties, plus overt risk and strong political considerations; while in Portugal decision making remained collegial with Rectors seeing themselves as primus inter pares (first among equals). The major finding was that while women as senior managers had an increased capacity to impact on decision-making in managerial universities, mainly related to ‘soft’ management skills, these were not valued in a competitive management culture strongly focused on research output. Thus managerialism presents a great challenge for women in senior management in higher education.


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