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Edu-ma-cational system analysis

From page 187 of "How to Manage the R&D Staff: A Looking-Glass World", by James E. Tingstad.

"Power over and responsibility for other adults is a new, euphoric, and intimidating experience for most people.  Since many new supervisors are thrust into their positions with little or no management training and very little advance notice, their initial tendency is to rely on parental behavior.  But subordinates are not children, and treating them as such will meet with resistance, thus creating confusion and frustration."

Compare this to the attitudes of so many in Government, as well as Administration, Faculty, and Staff at tertiary educational institutions where an explicit cultural attitude is: "in loco parentis".


( 5 Explications — Derisively explain away )
Sep. 19th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Ouch. Very true. I'm honestly not sure how to manage other adults. Kids are easy, mostly because they're smaller and less autonomous. For adults, what happens if they don't do what you expect? There aren't always good options for "discipline" or resolving conflict. The latter is a very advanced social skill that most people don't learn... at least not in the natural course of living. We're often raised in households with poor track records in conflict resolution--dysfunctional parents, possibly very few (if any) siblings, sometimes few demands to share space/resources with others (e.g., everyone has their own room), etc. If you don't have experience communicating well, or "fighting" & making up, or if you have mental/developmental issues... Whew! It's a wonder anyone ever gets along at all!

I'm definitely looking forward to getting a bit of training and experience on navigating the wide world of managing adults. It's not that I want to be a manager... but that you're often thrust into the role without the title when you have to work with teams across projects, and no natural leader emerges.
Sep. 19th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
"but that you're often thrust into the role without the title when you have to work with teams across projects, and no natural leader emerges."

That's a very good point.
Sep. 23rd, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's hard. I'm glad that I'm no longer directly supervising anyone. At one point I had 8 supervisees--gah! However I'm now my boss's lab manager and his group currently has 36 people in it. Luckily, there's only one real problem child, and only a couple of hothouse flowers. Most everyone is pretty cool and responsible.
Sep. 24th, 2012 12:20 am (UTC)
I wonder if I'm the problem child, or a mere hothouse flower.

Well congrats on getting out of the supervisor role. It must have added to your philosophical knowledge base on scientific culture, but I can't imagine it being easy.
Sep. 24th, 2012 05:29 am (UTC)
I think you'd be a hothouse flower :)
( 5 Explications — Derisively explain away )