Overwork = Less Creativity? Milking the academic cow dry?

mflfn0I (1)A fascinating piece on the culture of overwork within academia, finishes:

We need coalitions of the sane to lead discussions about what can reasonably be expected of academics, to recruit and promote accordingly and to mentor younger academics into a way of thinking that says: “Enough is enough. If you want to do extra, we won’t reward you for it.”

You might assume that institutions run by coalitions of the sane would automatically fall behind those run by further achievers. But think again. Universities vitally depend on academics’ ability to productively use their intellect, curiosity and creativity. In business-speak, ensuring a sane working environment therefore safeguards their supply of academic human resources.

A dairy farmer might streamline his delivery routes or negotiate discounts on milk bottles. He won’t run the health of his cows into the ground by demanding that they produce ever greater yields. But that, in essence, is what universities are currently doing to their academics. Fingers crossed that voices like Schell’s will wake them up to how counterproductive that is – preferably before the cows come home.

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Work's Intimacy, a review in @timeshighered

Here’s another on the wishlist!!

In a lively and compellWork's Intimacy book Covering read, Melissa Gregg examines the impact of technologies on the work and lifestyles of employees in the knowledge economy. This book covers a lot of ground in a relatively slim volume, and considers mobile working; part-time and contract working; online team interactions; the use of social networking; online branding; and the implications of work being done in the home environment.

Times Higher Education readers may see parallels with their own working lives in the examples cited, and Gregg’s observations about how we relate to work may cause readers to reflect on how information and communication technologies have impacted on their own responses to, for example, being able to work remotely and pressures to be ever connected and available.

Gregg draws on a study of 26 professionals working for large organisations in education, government, broadcasting and telecommunications who were interviewed annually over a three-year period. Their experiences of, and responses to, remote working and the use of online technologies are traced in detail throughout. Overall, a picture of expanding work boundaries is presented, but responses to this shift are mixed.

Read full story or buy the book.