In a recent conversation with international colleagues, we compared cultures in university in terms of the divide between the academics and Faculties versus the presidency and support staff. It started with a a 20-year old anecdote of mine when I discovered that professors, when speaking about the university, mean “them” rather than “us”. Academics tend to mistrust the central services set up to support them. One of my friends recognised the situation – the other one not at all. Exploring our universities’ cultures we found the reason: in the university with mistrusted services, these services found that the president would be “sad” is the academics didn’t like the support, but “really mad” if the services wouldn’t bow at the president’s bidding. In the university with the well-appreciated services, on the contrary, the president would get “really mad” at signals of service dissatisfaction among academics, while only “sad” if services to the president’s office suffered under the priority for the academic clients.
This, of course, is mere an N=1 (or N=2) example, but it is still interesting, isn’t it?
Interested readers can approach me for a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.