Academic culture versus corporate culture


ARE COLLEGE DEANS CORPORATE MANAGERS? Should scholars be “team players”? Should academic process be subordinate to business results?

This discussion highlights the major differences between the academic culture and the corporate culture.  It focuses on the roles, values, work style, and goals of academics and business people.  It is premised on the following:


Roles: Deans should be, first and foremost, mentors to students and colleagues to faculty.

Values: What matters most in academia are freedom of expression; ideas and engagement; education and learning; and process, procedure, and governance

Work style: Collegial. Academics are individualistic, independent, and objective. Their primary loyalty should be to their discipline.

Goals: Academics should strive to achieve learning outcomes, knowledge creation, and scholarly output.


Roles: Corporate managers should be, first and foremost, “guardians” of the P&L and “company men.”

Values: What matters most in business are quick decision-making; prompt execution; customer satisfaction; financial results and the “bottom line”

Work style: Business-like. Managers should be “team players,” reliant on the expertise of others, and profit-oriented.  Their primary loyalty should be to their organization.

Goals: Business people should strive to achieve quality products and services, revenue generation, cost control, and profitability

QUERY: in higher education, are these cultures compatible?  What do you think? Please indicate your name, position, and how we can reach you




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