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Perverse audit culture and accountability of the modern public university: audit culture and accountability of the public university

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  • Russell Craig
  • Joel Amernic
  • Dennis Tourish
The audit culture which has developed in public universities has led to counter-productive outcomes. Managerial oversight of academic work has reached a critical tipping point. Extensive auditing of research output by means of performance management assessment regimes motivated by a New Public Management mentality has damaged individual scholarship and threatened academic freedom. Such assessment regimes are perverse and conducive to the development of psychotic tendencies by universities. It is important to understand the effects of a perverse audit culture when re-thinking and reforming approaches to university performance management. We suggest ways for public universities to acknowledge the need for accountability while remaining true to core academic purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages25
JournalFinancial Accounting and Management
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • CRAIG_2014_cright_FAM__Perverse Audit Culture and Accountability of the Modern Public University

    Rights statement: This is the accepted version of the following article: "Perverse Audit Culture and Accountability of the Modern Public University", (2015), Financial Accountability and Management, 30(1), pp. 1-24, ISSN: 1468-0408, DOI: 10.1111/faam.12025, which has been published in final form at

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 393 KB, PDF document

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