Collaborative Decision Making in an Australian University: The Impossible Dream?

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts,Technology, Education and Communications




Holloway, D. A., & Holloway, D. J. (2006). Collaborative decision-making in an Australian university: The impossible dream?. In Management: Pragmatism, Philosophy, Priorities. Proceedings of the 20th Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management (ANZAM 2006)


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.

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