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Title: Beyond 'administration' and 'management' : reconstructing professional identities in UK higher education
Author: Whitchurch, Celia
ISNI:       0000 0001 2419 3511
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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As higher education institutions, and their workforces, have expanded and diversified to meet the demands of contemporary environments, boundaries are being breached between functional areas, between professional and academic domains, and between internal and external constituencies. At the same time, broadly based, extended projects such as student support, management development and enterprise partnership have emerged, requiring contributions from a range of professional staff. As a result, the terms 'administration' and 'management' fall short in providing comprehensive understandings of the identities of increasing numbers of staff. This study considers the implications of these changes by identifying three categories of professional, with associated spaces, knowledges, relationships and legitimacies. On the one hand, bounded professionals locate themselves firmly within organisational and functional boundaries, and are characterised by their concern for continuity and the safeguarding of standards and procedures. On the other hand, cross-boundary professionals actively use their understanding of institutional boundaries to develop superordinate identities across one or more domain of activity, performing interpretive functions, and also becoming actors in institutional decisionmaking. By contrast, unbounded professionals, having a disregard for boundaries, adopt a more open-ended and exploratory approach to their broadly based projects, expanding the space available for institutional activity. Thus, cross-boundary professionals and unbounded professionals, in their own way, develop new forms of institutional knowledge and relationships, the former focusing on institutional capacity building, and the latter on institutional development for the future. Not only have professional staff become more active in constructing their identities but, as they work across and beyond boundaries, they are obliged to re-negotiate the sources of their legitimacy. In tum, it may be that those institutions that are able to give recognition to more extended ways of working will be more likely to maximise the contribution of professional staff, and to achieve an effective accommodation with their current and future environments.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available