Berlach, R. G. (2001). University corporatisation: The assault of rationalism on the academic spirit. Eight International Literacy & Education Research Network Conference.
The world-wide obsession with rationalistically-based decision-making processes has resulted in individuals and societies alike suffering at the hands of bureaucrats and their masters, federal and state politicians. Institutions, industries, and even governments are now being seen as organisations to be managed by cold reason with little or no account being taken of the human spirit or of the attitudes and values of individuals. It appears that human worth and dignity have been replaced by rationalistically-motivated expediency cloaked in jargon divined by corporate management. Sadly, this form of rationality has found its way into Australian universities and is detrimentally affecting the mission of, and academic culture within, these institutions of higher learning. Such reshaping has resulted in most publicly-funded universities now evolving as businesses rather than autonomous centres of learning, research and scholarship. The present work explores the antecedents of rationalism, challenges the value of this prevailing ideology, and presents an alternative paradigm for maintaining the mission and culture of the university.