Sunday, February 10, 2013

Clueless in Morrill Hall

The administration has retained Sibson Consulting of New York to conduct an analysis of the administrative structure at the U of M.  Is Sibson the right firm to conduct this analysis?  The firm recently worked with the administration to produce a classification of University employees.  So the firm has an interest in keeping on good terms with the administration for additional business in the future and for recommendations to other universities for similar work.

Recall the example of the Tripp Umbach consulting firm that went from university to university--including the U of M--to prepare "economic impact sudies" that the universities could use in their public relations campaigns for greater state appropriations.

Then there is the scope of the "spans and layers" analysis for which Sibson has been retained.  President Kaler has announced that the analysis will answer this question:
Does the University have the appropriate number of organizational levels and do managers at various levels oversee the proper number of people?

But the issue is not simply a matter of counting the number of levels and the number of people--it is at least as much about counting the compensation of the scores of senior administrators at the top.
Even if the senior administrators were persuaded to look at their own compensation, would Sibson Consulting be the firm to provide an independent analysis?  Here is the description of a recent presentation by the firm:

Incentives are becoming increasingly more common in higher education, as institutions seek creative compensation to reward for performance, excellence and attract and engage highly qualified talent.  Join us for an interactive discussion on how incentives have been successfully implemented in some institutions, and what you can do to introduce the concept in your organization.

The senior administrators have already introduced this concept at the U of M.  See The Cost of "Top Talent"  and The Cost of "Top Talent" Part III.

And the total cost of administration includes far more than the compensation for those persons in positions that are now classified as "administrative oversight."  See On The Cost of Administration Part III.

Michael W. McNabb 

University of Minnesota B.A. 1971; J.D. 1974
University of Minnesota Alumni Association life member

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