On Ranking and Evaluation Ethics

“I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts”
John Locke
Recently I was asked to write an evaluation letter for a distinguished member of the academic community on the occasion of assessment and ranking procedures.  It seems that the said member of the academia with an impressive record of scientific contributions and an excellent reputation across tertiary education was inadequately evaluated without appropriate consideration of performance background and contributions.  I wrote my evaluation with a deep sense of commitment to fairness and objectivity. There was a moral duty for me to support the obscured truth and help right what was obviously wrong.
The one thing that bothers me most is lack of integrity: personal and political biases that interfere with judgment and reliability of evaluation procedures.  After 6 years of recession, the resisting key feature of the Greek State is being consistently reproduced across institutions and industries left and right, from top to bottom.  Agendas come and go where focus should be placed on contributions, life achievements, testimonials and references. Decisions are affected by personal preferences, relations and vested interests rather than refined criteria, meticulous observation, collection of feedback and reflection on value adding practices.
Who one is by birth, whom s(h)e is affiliated with, not one’s register of accomplishments is what determines tenure, promotion, distinction, stipend, appraisal, or award.  Lack of transparency and ethical considerations in political and corporate decision making is a major reason for failure of institutions in the macro and micro level.
Needless to say it’s the monster that feeds clientelism and corruption.
As a society we have got to reinvent our values, redefine our standards and literally turn around our political culture, not in some remote future, not in conferences, debates, symposiums or journal publications.  Here and now.
Sociocultural transformations take time, but this one is long overdue.
© MariaJayEm