Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Changing communities and challenging identities : an ethnography of a university spinout company
Author: Birds, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 6932
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
The context for this research is the influence of commercialisation in UK higher education. The study presents an ethnographic account and analysis of the experiences of a group of individuals involved with a recently formed university spinout company in the UK. The research was conducted over a two year period and data were collected from a range of sources including participant-observation, semi-structured interviews and written material. Conceptual constructs emerged from both inductive and deductive processes: data were examined as they surfaced and themes drawn out; these themes were then explored further in the field. Firstly, the account combines ethnographic and auto-ethnographic approaches in describing the significance of the commercialisation project to the individual employee. Participants' experiences of the spinout company are categorised into four areas of significance: Change, Challenge, Culture and Confusion (The Four Cs'). A typology is developed which illustrates the spread of the data in relation to the degree of distance between the actor and the event. Secondly, the thesis considers environmental factors influencing the individual experience. The spinout company project is contextualised in a multi-faceted 'web of influence' combining three distinct lenses through which the case may be viewed: the macro-, meso- and micro-levels. This tiered approach to the analysis considers the influences of broader social and economic developments on individual sense-making. The study critiques some key assumptions about commercialisation which are prevalent in the higher education sector and demonstrates ways in which changing organisational directions affect individual lives. It problematises this impact in terms of personal and professional dilemmas and proposes a renegotiation of professional and academic identities as role boundaries converge. It concludes with consideration of implications for current management practice in universities and suggestions for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available