ABSTRACT. In the last two decades the techniques of the new public management (NPM) have become widely employed in universities throughout the world, especially but not only in the English-speaking nations, as the template for management of organizational units and of academic labour. The NPM originated in the methods of government and public administration developed by the successive Thatcher governments in the UK in the 1980s. The foundations lay in the neo-liberal political philosophy of F.A. Hayek. The paper develops a critique of the NPM and its effects on universities, in two stages. First it analyses the forms of freedom produced by Hayekian liberalism. Drawing on Amartya Sen’s account of three aspects of freedom (agency freedom, freedom as control or ‘negative freedom’, freedom as effective freedom or positive freedom) the paper argues that Hayek focuses largely on freedom as control and this produces a specific account of the scope for activity of intellectuals and institutions. Second, the paper investigates at the various techniques developed as part of the NPM, from market style devolution and competition to accountability and audit regarding ‘quality’, in terms of their effects in forms of freedom, and particularly the limitations created by an undue focus on freedom as control at the expense of a larger set of human potentials. (pp. 86–114)

Centre for the Study of Higher Education
University of Melbourne
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