Matt's research work explores the ways in which the management of universities has been transformed under conditions of neoliberal policy-making and through the use of HRM. He has followed the development of HRM in universities and has written about the implications for academics of such a directive management style. Academic freedom, academic identity and collegiality are all challenged when universities are seen as businesses with 'knowledge workers' as their vital (human) assets. Consequently, Matt's research explores what it means to be an academic in the modern neoliberal university. Matt has presented his work at a number of conferences (including Society for Research in Higher Education, Critical Management Studies, British Universities Industrial Relations Association, European Academy of Management) and was a guest speaker at the ESRC/WERN funded Working Lives seminar series, leading to the publication of a chapter in the edited collection Academic Working Lives: Experience, Practice and Change (see publications for details). Some of Matt's other recent speaking engagements include a contribution to the European research project UNIKE (Universities in the Knowledge Economy, unike.au.dk) and as a guest lecturer on the Institute of Education's MBA in Higher Education Management.
'We're all in this together (and alone): Individualisation and the Academic Worker.' Higher Education Policy 26, 397-419 doi:10.1057/hep.2013.7 published online March 2013
(2009) “Labouring in the Augean
Stables? HRM and
the reconstitution of the academic worker”, International Journal
of Management Concepts
'Human Resources Policies and the Individualisation of Academic Labour' In Academic Working Lives: Experience, Practice and Change by Gornall, L, Cook, C, Daunton, L, Salisbury, J and Thomas, B (eds), London, New Delhi, New York, Sydney, Bloomsbury
‘HRM in HE: People Reform
of Re-Forming People?' In The World Yearbook of Education 2008 -
Geographies of Knowledge, Geometries of Power: Framing the Future of Higher
Education by D Epstein, R Boden, R Deem, F Rivzi and S Wright (eds), London
and New York, Routledge
Matt is currently working on a collaborative project with colleagues from the University of Roehampton designed to help gain a better understanding of the changing nature of higher education in the UK and the extent to which universities have become more corporatized. Focusing initially on the HR function, this project will ultimately provide a detailed breakdown of numbers of administrative, technical support and managerial roles in universities, and the costs of employing such staff, in comparison with the numbers and costs of academic staff employed. The justification for the apparent increase in the numbers of such non-academic staff is that it leads to a more professionally managed, business-like university. The aim of this project is to consider if there is sufficient evidence to justify such claims or whether spending may be better directed elsewhere. Initial findings have already been presented at the Critical Management Studies conference with the final results expected to be published in 2015/16.