3 years ago

Critical corridor talk: Just gossip or stoic resistance? Unrecognised informal Higher Education leadership

Jill Jameson


This mixed methods paper considers whether or not invisible forms of morally resistant collegial leadership are progressively challenging policy and managerial quasi‐market instrumentalism in a minority of low trust dysfunctional situations in a stratified United Kingdom (UK) Higher Education system. A theoretical model of stoical critical corridor talk (CCT) is proposed, arising from selected empirical data and reflective observations in 2005–2017. The data demonstrated that resistant academic critique is increasingly questioning economically driven command and control authoritarianism. The model builds on the concept of critical being to consider whether or not CCT amongst academics provides informal stoical leadership to alleviate stresses exacerbated by poor management. The highly functioning criticality of negative capability facilitates self‐reflexive resistance against the false necessity of supposedly deterministic imperatives to validate policy‐driven audit‐based managerialism. Yet to foster trust, informal leadership needs to practise correct moral principles itself when resisting performativity in dysfunctional environments in which some overstep the acceptable roles of good management.

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