Making a Difference at the University of Plymouth

Higher education has changed rapidly over recent years, reflecting the general tendency of increased corporatisation of culture at large. Management cultures insist on personal responsibility where the individual employee is supposed to align themselves with the organisation’s brand values. The phrase, “I want to make a difference”, reveals something of the tendency towards increased individualisation and a break with previous collective ways of engendering change. Does this demonstrate the view that large corporate and hierarchical institutions are ineffectual, that local and more complex models are at work in the forces of change? Who holds responsibility in seeking positive improvement in the workplace and in terms of the service on offer? Will the number of people pressing the “I want to make a difference” button reveal a true willingness or an empty gesture towards change? The shift from the individual sound to a chorus by the end of the project presents itself as an allegory in this respect.