Managerialism and Its Discontents

Rob Watson, Weblog, Mar 26, 2012
Commentary by Stephen Downes

A note of caution in this review of book 'Confronting Managerialism' (Zed Books, 2011, Robert Locke and J-C Spender) to those investing in learning analytics: the same discipline failed utterly in economics. "At bottom, the attempt to turn management into a positivist science seems to have misfired. It might have won Nobel Prizes for professors and set them to work on mounds of research, published in academic journals and taught in MBA classrooms, but from a management point of view so much investment in the creation of a positivist management science in business schools has not, to use their jargon, been 'cost effective'." The post has echoes of Lanier and Curtis, but also sounds the same sort of warning as a Greg Smith. Losing yourself in the numbers does not create anonymity, does not devolve one of responsibility, and does not produce efficacy or efficiency. It becomes a game, in which financiers win, and everyone else loses. So - caution. Related, from Audrey Watters: Kickboard - a data dashboard for teachers. Never forget that day Johnny had the sniffles and reacted angrily to Angela.
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