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Accepted Paper:

The university of planning  
David Westbrook (SUNY Buffalo Law School)

Paper short abstract:

Contemporary universities use the planning process to create commitment, thereby constructing the university bureaucratically.

Paper long abstract:

An important site for the anticipation and, crucially, production of anticipatory (or desired) knowledge (or commitment) is the contemporary university, at least as instantiated in the United States. Following Lyotard and others since, my recent work remarks the shift from the university of culture, centered on Bildung and the figure of the professor, adorning and fostering the nation's elite, to the administrative university, centered on excellence and the bureaucratic manager, building brand in a global competition for prestige. In the contemporary university, anticipation of future demands by various stakeholders, including students, government agencies, entities that wish to use university personnel or facilities for research and are willing to pay for it, vague invocations of society itself (leadership and innovation will be required), and occasionally even faculty, are said to require statements of mission and elaborate strategic plans. In the formulation of such statements and plans, democracy and especially diversity are said to require broad based participation. Such statements and plans, however, are rarely used to communicate with stakeholders, at least not directly, not least because they are unreadable. Instead, the process of their creation, through countless committees, endless meetings, and ultimately unbearably long and anodyne reports, creates commitment by the participants, who cannot say they have had no opportunity to express their views. Prognostication thus shades into planning which does much to constitute the organization itself. Institutional prudence and changing circumstances mandate that strategic planning never conclude. The corporate retreat lasts forever; anticipation of the future is the future.

Panel P110
Anticipatory knowledge: prognostics and prophecy in management and governance
  Session 1