Career dynamics : tailoring individual and organisational needs; a study of the application of professional development approaches to post experience career development in further education.
occupied by the consequences of the major legislative and structural changes of the
last decade, are failing to recognise and cultivate the full professional potential of
their academic staff to the detriment of the college, those individual members of staff
and the students.
This work investigates the current application of Human Resource Management in the
Further Education sector and the consequences for the professional development of
academic staff. In doing so, it examines current theories relevant to the organisational
perspective and to the perspective of the individual member of staff. These include
theories of organisational change, as well as career theory, adult development and
Studies one and two focussed primarily on the whole college perspective, while three
and four canvassed the views and opinions of individual members of academic staff.
Most of the analysis concentrates on study four as this emerged as the most significant
The first two shorter studies provided a benchmark for the rest of the research. Studies
one and two examined the current organisational perspective on professional
development. Study one involved content analysis of staff development policies
collated from colleges throughout the sector, while study two followed up this
information with a series of in-depth interviews with staff development managers
from a range of colleges. The second half of the research concentrated on an
examination of the views of as many staff as possible at a small number of colleges.
Study three, a questionnaire survey undertaken with academic staff at two large
Further Education colleges, provided useful quantitative data. Based on the findings
of the questionnaire, the fourth and final study involved detailed one-to-one
interviews with individual members of staff, which were then examined using
qualitative data analysis methods. Coupled with data drawn from the questionnaire
survey, the key conclusions are presented in chapter seven and used as a basis for the
recommendations in chapter eight.
The thesis concludes that current Human Resource Management approaches have led
to a neglect of the career and professional development interests of the individual and
an alternative model of the employment relationship is proposed. It is also suggested
that the current rhetoric of Human Resource Development is inappropriate to the field
of Further Education and has underestimated and misinterpreted the unique and
peculiar qualities of an academic culture. It concludes that by shifting the strategic
focus to the professional development of its individual members, the organisational as
well as the individual will benefit.