Internationally, much has changed in the governance of universities since the adoption of corporate management approaches. A strong focus on efficiency, productivity and accountability arising from these approaches has been well documented in the literature. Reductions in government funding have caused universities to become more competitive and entrepreneurial. However, little is known about the impacts of these changes on the working lives of individual academics. This paper is part of an ongoing study exploring the lived experiences of 2526 Australian academics who responded to a national questionnaire. This paper builds on earlier work by holistically drawing together the earlier findings which separately analysed the teaching, research and administration/service aspects of their work. In examining the effectiveness of universities through the ability of their academics to undertake their roles, we found the voices of academics that need to be heard in the development and implementation of key policies, such as academic workload and performance, to preserve the essentially self-managed nature of their work. By combining the learning from the project through the literature review, the statistical analysis and themes from the open-ended questions, we developed a set of principles to underpin these policies in universities. These principles can guide universities to shift towards a more collaborative working relationship with academics, based on trust, and actively encourage them to play be more active in institutional decision-making, especially in relation to policies that directly affect their work. These results have implications for improving the productivity of academics and the institutions in which they work.
academic workload, performance, principles for allocating work, effectiveness