Practices and Discourses of Academics: Local Lessons to Address the Digital Shift in Academic Management

Carla Fardella, Enrique Baleriola, Giazú Enciso


Since the 1980s, accountability, performance measurement and competitiveness have been implemented in universities globally. It is the management logic known as New Public Management (NPM). But the NPM in contemporary academia is not understood without attending to the emergence of digital management devices and platforms (DMDs). It is the combination of both events that we have called the digital turn in university management. The implementation of DMDs is not a homogeneous and fully satisfactory process but is loaded with attempts, fails, and failures that need the voice of academics to be understood in its extension. This article presents the results of 40 interviews with academics about their experience and engagement with DMDs. The results point to the existence of at least three repertoires: 1) device-lover, 2) functional- pragmatic and 3) oppositionist-rejector. Together, these results point out that, on one hand, both the experience and the identity of the academic; and on the other hand, the relationship with the institutional context; both are the key to the successful implementation of the DMDs.


Discourse analysis, Higher Education, Academic Management, Accountability, Digital devices.

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