Measuring academic performance through audit at the expense of trust

Christopher Holligan, Ibrahim Sadiq

Research output: Working paper


British universities are experiencing a climate of fiscal austerity including severe
budget cuts coupled with intensifying competition for markets have seen the
emergence of audit culture which afflicts the public sector in general. This entails the risk to the integrity of university culture disappearing. This paper seeks to explore the interconnections between developing trends in universities which cause processes likely to undermine the objectivity and independence of research. We question that universities’ alignment with the capitalist business sector and the dominant market economy culture. Despite arguably positive aspects, there is a danger that universities may be dominated by hegemonic sectional interest rather than narratives of openness and democratically oriented
critique. We also argue that audit culture embedded in reputation management,
quality control and ranking hierarchies may necessarily promote deception while
diminishing a collegiate culture of trust and pursuit of truth which is replaced by
destructive impersonal accountability procedures. Such transitions inevitably
contain insidious implications for the nature of the academy and undermine the
values of academic-intellectual life.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherRegent's University London
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2011

Publication series

NameBorder Crossing Transnational Working Papers
PublisherRegents University - London


  • Performance management
  • Audit culture
  • Collegiality
  • Trust
  • British universities
  • RAE
  • REF
  • Rankings
  • League Table


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