Collaborative Decision Making in an Australian University: The Impossible Dream?
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications
Managerialism is the dominant management practice in higher education decision-making. Collaboration is only allowed, or even actively encouraged, in teaching and research. In all other organisational matters there is a prevailing top-down approach to decision-making. The result is managers who believe that they always know better than those they manage. This paper challenges that dominant philosophy. It utilises a qualitative study of the latest strategic planning process at Murdoch University where there was an attempt to use a more collaborative and participatory approach. It concludes that there will need to be significant changes in organisational culture; communication processes; leadership ethos; and, management mindsets before effective collaboration, in the form of employee participation and involvement in decision-making, can develop and flourish.