Journal of Management and Governance

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 869–899 | Cite as

Moving towards digital governance of university scholars: instigating a post-truth university culture

  • Lennart Nørreklit
  • Lisa Jack
  • Hanne NørreklitEmail author


Governance models are increasingly driven by information technology (IT) and are being applied to measure the performance of all kinds of organisational activity including that of universities. This paper investigates whether the language embedded in the production and use of data for governance models based on IT facilitates a governance culture that excludes the scholarly insights of university professionals. Drawing on the language philosophy of the live language games of capable habitus-based practices and that of the digital language of IT systems, we argue that the reductive, digital language embedded in IT-based performance measures might destroy the live language game through which scholars of universities produce and develop complex cognitive conceptual habitus. Managers in thrall to the digital language of control accessible via IT can use it to create operational paths that crowd out the free cognitive conceptual habitus of the university scholars. Accordingly, the culture of the corporate university is moving towards a post-truth state. The situation suggests that the role of universities as the foundation for the whole project of enlightenment and knowledge-based society is threatened.


Performance measurement Habitus-based language University scholars Digital language Post truth 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lennart Nørreklit
    • 1
  • Lisa Jack
    • 2
  • Hanne Nørreklit
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.Portsmouth Business SchoolPortsmouthUK
  3. 3.Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark

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