This paper focuses on the way lecturers observe, feel restrained by and cope with quality management systems that have been implemented in the higher education systems of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. As two sides of the same coin, quality enhancement and quality control are of increased significance in European Higher Educaction Institutions (HEIs), particularly through the Bologna Process. We are interested in the way that both enhancement and control blend into the current systems, and we are concerned for too much dominance of control, as has been suggested in recent managerial literature. Analysis of 40 interviews in both countries among researchers and lecturers in traditional and universities of applied sciences showed many similarities. It is not so much the general idea of quality management that is being turned down by the respondents. They see the benefits quite clearly. Still, the general belief is that quality management in its current shape and character does not fit with the work of the individual academic, neither their teaching nor their research. The respondents worry for and resent the consequences of increased emphasis on quality assurance and control. The developments concerning the quality management of their HEIs are perceived in terms of quality assurance by the UK respondents. Instead, the Dutch are more occupied with finding ways to "how to deal with" such developments. © 2009 European Higher Education Society.