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Title: Managerialism and academic professionalism in English universities
Author: Kolsaker, Ailsa
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2007
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The purpose of this thesis is to illuminate the relationship between managerialism and academic professionalism. It aims to examine how managerial discourses affect academic professionism and the role played by manager-academics. The research surveyed full-time academic staff at chartered and statutory universities. Employing a mixed methodology and stratified random sampling, a focus group and interviews at various institutions were followed by a quantitative survey in which 7,000 full-time staff were invited to participte; 708 responded. The methodology enabled a comparative analysis of variables such as institutional type, rank, gender and number of years employed as an academic across various structuring contexts including workload, managerialism and professionalism. Mirroring earlier literature, the current research indicates worsening conditions across the sector in terms of workload, bureaucracy, prescription and finding time for research. The contribution of this research is the discovery that despite greater demands, academics appear resilient, demonstrating a high level of normative professionalism and surprisingly little instrumentality. They appear generally ambivalent towards managerialism in universities, tending to blame broader societal and political changes for the worsening conditions. Manager-academics were not rated well however, and were not generally seen as supportive. The implications of these findings for public policy and institutional middle management are discussed. It is concluded that academics are perhaps more resilient than earlier studies suggest; that they can be expected to resist managerial activities that threaten their values and autonomy and that hitherto they have been relatively successful in defending their professionalism. It is suggested that efforts now should be directed towards ensuring that the cadre of professional administrators appointed by universities over the last decade or so actually deal with the administration, allowing academics to concentrate on pedagogy. It is also further suggested that manager-academics abandon bureaucracy as a mode of indirect control and develop more 'hands on' social skills to enable them to manage in a consultative, inclusive and motivating manner. For their part, academics need to be cognizant of the political discourse challenging their professionalism and how new forms of accountability might be built upon to enhance trust, motivation, reflexivity and democratic dialogue in an era driven by economic rationality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available