Leading questions: journal rankings, academic freedom and performativity: what is, or should be, the future of Leadership?

Tourish, Dennis (2011) Leading questions: journal rankings, academic freedom and performativity: what is, or should be, the future of Leadership? Leadership, 7 (3). pp. 367-381. ISSN 1742-7150

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Abstract

Pressure on academics to publish articles in ‘top’ journals continues to grow. In tandem, we have seen a proliferation of journal rankings, claiming to provide a guide to the quality of journals. As editors become more preoccupied by the ranking of ‘their’ journal, they exercise performative power over authors, by setting standards for publication that exclude many while compelling those that are published to adapt to the styles, priorities and imperatives of editors. One result has been a ceaseless quest for novelty, manifest in an insistence that each paper must make a ‘distinctive’ theoretical contribution. I argue that this is producing an environment in which scholarship is increasingly mechanized and industrialized, while rendering its outputs more arcane and inaccessible to non-specialists. It also means that the academy is becoming ever more complicit in its own subordination to performative processes that it frequently criticizes when observing them in the outside, ‘real’ world of management practice. We are therefore seeing more barriers to entry for both authors and new journals – unless both conform to norms that bear an orthodox but often sterile imprint. I consider the implications of these issues for emergent journals such as Leadership, and for academic freedom, and suggest how those interested in scholarly inquiry in general and the fate of this journal in particular should respond.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Depositing User: Stacey Goldup
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2017 05:58
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2017 05:58
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/68492
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