Saturday, March 03, 2012

Reshuffling: A money saving trick or a number game

A university (name withheld ) is undergoing a reorganization in which several colleges, departments, and administrative units would be merged. Although school authorities vowed that no one would be laid off during the reshuffling, a few began to worry about their whereabouts. However, the news was not entirely bad. Two new departments were created and scheduled to enroll new students in September. Teachers were encouraged to apply for new positions in these two new departments, but many doubted it a good idea to shift to a different department teaching subjects unfamiliar to them. What really worried the faculty was the decision to form larger classes to teach courses of general education such as Chinese, History, and English etc. Despite that the school promised to pay teachers extra to teach larger classes, teaching and learning effects of such classes are doubtful. Whether these changes make our school more competitive remains uncertain. Nevertheless, some said it was just a trick to save bucks.

Similar examples occurred in the military. Reported the other day, Navy’s anti-submarine warfare squadrons of Naval Aviation Command would be reassigned to the Air Force. The military boasted that they had moved a step forward to complete the Jing-Shi Project(精實案), a plan launched in 1997 to reorganize our armed forces aiming at downsizing organizations and creating better combat ability. Ironically, the naval anti-submarine warfare squadrons were transferred from the Air Force in 1999 under the same project. Another example is the anti-air missile units which were being shifted back and forth between the Army and the Air Force. Local commentators criticized that it was simply a number game played recurrently by different defense ministers.

The way I see it no matter the reshuffling of our academic and administrative organizations or the reorganization of our military is all but a blind belief in the myth of modern business administration theories which assume that new opportunity would thus be created through organization rearrangement. Let’s just wait and see.

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