June 03, 2007

‘Divestors of People’©

‘Divestors of People’© is a standard awarded to Higher Education institutions that excel in mismanaging, bullying, and harassing their staff.

The criteria are:

1. Lack of strategy to improve the under-performance of the institution. This does not exist, is not clearly defined, or is not communicated to staff.

2. There is lack of coherent investment in staff development.

3. Whatever strategies exist to manage staff, these are implemented to promote cronyism, incompetence, favoritism, or inequality, and to disguise management failures

4. The capabilities managers need to learn and manage staff are not defined. Managers received little or no training to improve their communication, behaviour and people skills.

5. Managers are ineffective in leading, managing, and developing staff. High levels of over-management or under-management.

6. Staff are not encouraged to take ownership and responsibility through involvement in decision-making. There is no accountability and transparency in the decision making process.

7. Staff are demorilised, de-skilled or demoted. The working environment is toxic.

8. Lack of improvements in managing people is chronic.

9. The working environment shows high levels of work-related stress.

10. Internal grievance procedures are used selectively by managers - against staff. Some managers are untouchable despite their failures.

11. Staff report high levels of bullying and harassment by managers. Fear prevails among the silent majority.

12. The governing body is detached from the staff and is in the same bed with the management. Governors show no visible interest in the affairs of the staff.

Nominations are open to all staff in all universities. Institutions qualify for the ‘Divestors of People’© award if they meet at least 50% of the above criteria and this can be verified by at least two different staff members from the same organisation. Nominators can remain anonymous.


Anonymous said...

I want to nominate University of Wolverhampton. If half of what happened to Sal Fiore is true, then Wolverhampton fulfil more than half of the criteria for the award.

Anonymous said...

I wish to nominate Kingston University for the following reasons:

1. They forced out or sacked all five Jewish staff members in my department as well as all other persons who were not white and British (save one Australian white male), thereby reducing the quality of the department, since these staff members were, in nearly all instances of high international stature and/or of high performing capability. They also encouraged plagiarism by not enforcing rules against it, even when cases were found to have been proven. And hosts of other similar issues related to failing to improve quality and/or punishing those who strove to do so. Standards generally reduced to get and keep bums on seats.

2. Staff development was pretty well non-existent and where it did exist was not fairly funded.

3. Complete cronyism, failure to punish misconduct by staff who were cronies of managers. Incompetent staff rewarded/promoted while competent staff were forced out by bullying and or false/trumped up charges

4. Many incompetent and inexperienced managers given little or no training and appointed not on ability or stature, but on willingness to toe the party line.

5. Overmanagement of junior staff and undermanagement of junior managers. Laissez-faire management of larger university issues by senior management, so that lower level managers could freely abuse their power. Managers supported over junior staff in almost all instances.
Little if any sense of vision in management at any level.

6. Illusion of staff involvement in decision making -- expected decisions communicated so that staff are intimidated into staying "on message."

7. Highly toxic work environment. Much backbiting and demoralisation. Staff don't care much about their jobs -- only about their paycheques.

8. Management/mismanagement has gone from bad to worse in recent years.

9. Many, many cases of workers off for long-term stress. Attempts made to cover this up.

10. Grievance process abused by managment to pressure junior employees to turn on one another and on managers who were also deemed to be too interested in making improvements.

11. Extreme environment of bullying and harassment. Little or no attempts by management to get to the root of the problem.

12. Governors not fair or impartial. Involved in collusion with management in disciplinary/grievance procedures.

Anonymous said...

A member of staff from Kingston has come to my university and after initially complaining about the bullying at Kingston appears to me to have joined in the bullying culture at my university with great gusto.

Your analysis of a bullying culture is really insightful and reflects many of the features that concern me at my university...

... which apparently takes cases of bullying very seriously.

Aphra Behn

Anonymous said...

I am not related to Wolverhampton Uni in any manner, but I am nominating it as well, based on the letter provided in the earlier posting... it displays arrogance, intimidation, and a delibrate lack of common sense...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I wish nominate Loughborough University under the following categories from your list:

2. Loughborough has a doctrinaire and patronising 3-year probation system that ignores staff's previous work experience and particularly works against those from overseas, women who have had career breaks and people who have entered acadaemia as a second career. It is basically a big stick to hit staff with for the RAE. Probationary staff have to produce 2 RAE outputs for each year of probation. Highly experienced people find themselves having to attend staff development courses aimed at the needs of teaching assistants and new lecturers. Written from a limited disciplinary standpoint (usually engineering), they are rolled out across the whole of the university, whether or not they're relevant.

3. Every word of 3 applies. There are few women in senior positions. Many women compain of institutionalised sexism. The long hours culture discriminates against those with family and caring responsibiities.

4. The fact that Loughborough runs a course on emotional intelligence for managers says it all. It appears to have little impact.

5. Junior staff are over-managed and intimidated, particularly in regard to RAE output. Conversely many long-serving members of staff receive virtually no career development and are given no encouragement to apply for promotion. Needless to say, many of the latter are women. New workload agreements, which have cut teaching contact hours, have produced high levels of stress amongst staff due to having to deliver the same material in less time and consequent falling standards (which are of course blamed on staff) and student complaints.

6. Decisions are made in authoritarian and undemocractic ways, despite a plethora of committees. Staff constantly complain about meddling in their research and a lack of understanding of work that is outside of the dominant disciplines in the university.

7. Staff are extremely demoralised. Long-standing members of staff are routinely threatened with teaching-only contracts. No recognition is given to outstanding teachers. Furthermore, such is the pressure for research that teaching is regarded as a nuisance and increasingly given over to postgraduates, many of them MA students. Undergraduates complain bitterly about reduced contact time (see above). How, Loughborough is no 1 in the student experience chart is a mystery to staff.

8. Management has gone from bad to worse and staff are afraid to speak out.

9. There are huge levels of work-related stress. HR lets cases reach crisis point when early intervention and mediation might have resolved issues. Confidential information about complainants is often disclosed by HR to devastating effect. The return to work policy, although sound in principle, is often not properly implemented.

10. Internal grievance and disciplinary procedures are used to silence staff, often as a pre-emptive strike to discredit them before they can make their own complaint.

11. Every word applies.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 6:31 (nominating Loughborough)

Sound extremely familiar

experiencing a similar environment at Imperial College, add to the sexism racism

Anonymous said...

Leung v Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine [2002] EWHC 1358 (Admin) (5 July 2002)

Egbuna v. Imperial College of Science Technology & Medicine [2001] UKEAT 1308_00_2602 (26 February 2001)

Zaher v. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine [2000] UKEAT 508_00_0610 (6 October 2000)

Deman v. Imperial College of Science And Technology Management School [2001] UKEAT 1136_01_2609 (26 September 2001)

June Phyllis Sime v. Imperial College London [2005] UKEAT 0875_04_2004 (20 April 2005)

Anonymous said...

If there was an Irish recipient, I would like to nominate University College Cork - with 8 court cases and 48 Labour Court cases it is one of the most significant players in the Irish university Litigation League.

UCC "ticks all the boxes", but there are more specifics on the public relations efforts (to hide, rather than deal with, the bullying) of the newly appointed President

Anonymous said...

me and some colleagues are going to have a laugh


Winner of Outstanding Support for Early Career Researchers
Julia Higgins, Bernie Morley, Esat Alpay – Imperial College, London

Anonymous said...

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for its suspension of Gary MacLennan and John Hookam for showing "disrespect" towards a student thesis intended to offend and laugh at disabled people, and towards the project supervisor who failed to direct the student to any disability literature or ensure the integrity of disabled people used as research props to be "laughed at".
Indymedia story

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

At 1:33 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more about Loughborough.
The policies are not worth the pixels it takes to show them on the web page. (They don't give you a hard copy to save trees apparently!)
Management is a shambles, complainants are "exterminated" and serial bullies are allowed off with a counselling session at best.
Staff in some depts live in fear of being the next victim as they see another person go on long term work related stress sick leave and then never come back.
Morale is through the roof and yes most staff wonder how on earth we do so well in these awards.
LU is the most shambolic place I have ever worked.
Worse still they keep bleating on about how they want to be a fabulous employer, sending round surveys about stress and bullying etc, setting up working groups running the dreaded PD sessions but missing the all important bit about feeding back the findings to staff and the DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT!
P.S. If LU win please let the Loughborough Echo know I would love to see that story in print.

Anonymous said...

I want to nominate Telford College of Arts and Technology for fulfilling almost all of the criteria specified on your site.

Anonymous said...

I too want to name Telford College of Arts and Technology. Their management style leaves plenty to be desired.

Anonymous said...

I would like to nominate Eastern Mediterranean University in Northern Cyprus for the "Divestors of People" award based on my personal experience of harassment, sexual harassment, physical intimidation, false charges, false testimony, perjury and the obstruction of justice. I know that there are many other victims at EMU going through similar experiences and I hope that some of them will support the nomination.