Alberto Amaral

The Academics: from Professionals to Employees

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Academic profession, Market, Academic capitalism

The paper analyzes the pressures that in recent decades have determined the great changes that university systems have gone through globally, focusing in particular on their impact on the professional activity of academics. The emergence of the knowledge society and the affirmation of New Public Management fostered the implementation of control mechanisms (Quality Assurance systems), the consequent use of markets as public policy tools, as well as the increased influence of external stakeholders and the professionalization of university management. This also resulted in a cultural change in institutions in which market ideas, competition or marketization were unknown. The incorporation of norms and values from corporate organizations into the governance of higher education institutions has involved a progressive degradation of the working conditions of academics and their transformation into employees, i.e. mere organizational personnel. The traditional autonomy of academics was eroded with the performance measures being implemented in institution, while the student-centered paradigm reinforced the institutional role of students by transforming them into clients. Through this frame, and a review of the ongoing debate, the university lose its characteristics as an institution to become a mere social organization or administered entity.

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