Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Negotiations according to Bob Aylett

A worrying article has been found in the University World News. For anyone at London Met concerned about our new interim VC, Robert Aylett, the following might send shivers down your spine:

"Nothing and nobody is sacred and you can't cut deals with your favourite staff; you have to be ruthless while smiling," he says.

Read the whole thing here if you can stomach it.

Meanwhile, the comments on last week's article on THES are raging. If you want to have your say, remember some guidelines we've posted here.


  1. Bob likes to see himself very much as the big macho man. Brian for all his many faults at least had a modicum of wit and charm. I predict plenty of posturing and tough talk but very little in the way of new ideas for taking the institution forward and out of the current mess. Suspect the Governors hope with money-bags Brian out of the spotlight the fuss over the proposed large scale compulsory redundancies will die down. I can assure them it won't.

  2. As harsh as it may seem, reading Aylett's comment on the linked site is not in principle wrong in terms of management theory. If a system is not working it needs to be re-calibrated somehow, be it organisationally, infrastructurally or whatever. This can entail redundancies if overstaffing, or rather too many people in the wrong places and not enough where they're needed, is part of the root of the problem. Naturally it is extremely poor management to simply go on a spending spree and the sack people who are actually needed to cover the losses, that should go without saying. However, subjective favouritism is of absolutely no use when a re-structuring is necessary, that would only keep and lose people for all the wrong reasons.

  3. sorry, that should be "reading Aylett's comment on the linked site, IT is not in principle wrong [...]".

  4. To be honest, as someone that has both studied and worked at LMU I can say that in both cases the place behaves as your classic corporate behemoth. The place bleeds money. Any kind of administration related chore is designed to be so damn incomprehensible and tedious that only the very determined manage to ever complete them. Hence why so much poor people and facilities administration can carry on year after year - it's simply too difficult and time consuming to do anything about lest your life depends on it!

    I see no reason per se to operate a second rate university, offering second or third rate education to many. In many other European countries there is no such thing as second or third rate universities. Everyone operates under the same quality monitoring directives and if you don't make the cut you don't.

    Might seem strange coming from someone who's job is at risk right now, but LMU needs a good slimming to survive or even to make sense as an academic institution.