Ivory Basement Leadership

Power and Invisibility in the Changing University

By Joan Eveline

Many people fear that the ivory tower is crumbling. Of urgent concern are deteriorating standards, fewer jobs, waning professional prestige and new layers of inequity. Leadership in the tower is easy to spot. It is hierarchical, detached and mostly male. In this highly readable book, Joan Eveline turns her acute gaze to the ivory basement, where the corridors, departments, laboratories and offices are peopled. There she observes a greedy organization cannibalizing the efforts, energy and care of the basement's workers, most of whom are women. Voices from the basement - of the University of Western Australia, but it could be any university - speak about the devaluing of their work. Eveline detects a new linkage, through shared experience, of administrative staff, research assistants and the lower order of academics, who increasingly are casual workers. And she discerns a courageous and almost invisible exercise of leadership. This "post-heroic" leadership values personal relationship, loyalty and diversity. It is creative, flexible and, above all, collaborative. This book will hearten those dismayed by the restructuring pandemic. For ivory basement workers have, in adversity, forged a leadership model that might well be mobilized to revive Australia's ailing universities.


259 pages

Publication Date: 8/1/2004
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781920694210