EDEV_505 Week 8_1

Thanks for sharing your workplace conflict. As always, please accept my comments on your situation as hypothetical and reflective rather that as any attempt to offer advice or suggestions.

One may comment on the apparent lack of integrity in an institution that has different customs and expectations for separate parts of the organisation. ‘Integrity’ here refers to the notion that an institution is whole and acts as a single unit. Outside observers may judge the institution in line with Resick and colleagues who list “hidden agendas, contravening laws and norms” (2011, p. 442) as characteristics of unethical leadership. Another concern is in the ability of the institution to sustain any development in their education model. Naeem and Peach (2011, p. 282) link “weak inter-sectional collaboration” with failings in sustainable development, leading to the possibility that the lack of co-ordination between the day and night courses may eventually lead to a break down of trust in the institution both internally and externally.

You mention that the inherent inequity between the treatment of the day and night classes is grounded in historical circumstance and conclude that nothing much will probably change. I’d like to add to this point by highlighting a contradiction in Heaney’s (2009) work where, citing Gramsci, he initially recognises that our “culturally grounded, socially derived … values are hegemonic, reflecting the normative influence of existing social arrangements” (p. 70). This statement locates the values of now within the larger scale temporality. Yet Heaney continues by urging educators “to inspire learners to act on their own behalf, but also to conspire with others to effect social justice and change” (p. 71). Often social justice is related to a single generation, that is, a study of now and how things could or should change. This view risks being considered as superficial because those who benefit from the now can be regarded as blameless recipients of historical circumstance. Often lacking from a discussion of meritocracy is the recognition of social factors that produce more able students. These factors span generations and have results in people who have better health, more access to educational resources, more cognitive awareness, are taller, speak with more standardised accents and a whole host of benefits that have accrued to those individuals. I would certainly not argue for a return to plutocratic social systems, but the reality—according to Chomsky—is the US is not a not democracy but are plutocracies (McGilvray, 2005), and by extension, most Western so-called democracies. However for honest, ethical and above all purposeful discussion, a sense of historicity must be maintained, and attempts for change must recognise the social structures that change wishes to reconstruct.


Heaney, T. (2009). Pursuit of Social Justice in Situations of Conflict. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 123(Fall), 65–74. http://doi.org/10.1002/ace

McGilvray, J. (2005). The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky. Cambridge: CUP.

Naeem, M. A., & Peach, N. W. (2011). Promotion of sustainability in postgraduate education in the Asia Pacific region. International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, 12(3), 280–290.

Resick, C. J., Martin, G. S., Keating, M. A., Dickson, M. W., Kwan, H. K., & Peng, C. (2011). What Ethical Leadership Means to Me: Asian, American, and European Perspectives. Journal of Business Ethics, 101(3), 435–457. http://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-010-0730-8

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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