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Title: Exploring managers and management : the squeezed middle in the English post-compulsory education sector
Author: Wolstencroft, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 4883
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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The recent history of the post-compulsory education sector in England has been shaped by the Further and Higher Education Act (1992) and the subsequent period which led to the 'incorporation' of colleges. This move towards a quasi-market economy created a change in culture for those charged with leading and managing in the sector. At the centre of this change were the middle managers. In most cases, middle managers were promoted from a lecturing job into a role that involved bridging the gap between the demands of senior managers and the realities of the classroom. Building on original work by Briggs (2006) and Busher and Harris (1999), this research looks at the role of middle managers and the environment in which they operate. It focuses specifically on the transition lecturers make when first appointed to the role and how they are supported. Self-identity is a key theme running through the work and it seeks to look at how this changes as lecturers move into management. Using a series of semi-structured interviews and an online questionnaire, the research identifies how middle managers often 'fall' into the role through ad hoc recruitment procedures that rarely reflect acknowledged good practice. The support and training given was also found to be minimal and the work/life balance of the majority of participants is skewed heavily in favour of work. Whilst there was some shared understanding of what management meant to participants, each individual manager had a different approach to the challenges management posed. Middle managers recounted four dimensions that helped to explain their role; these were all influenced by the philosophical driver that encapsulated their beliefs, values and what they viewed as important. The dimensions (which were named moulded, resilient, independent and human) were defined by the degree of interaction managers had with people and systems. The word dimension was used to describe a social and cultural space occupied by the manager. Sometimes these existed as physical spaces but in most cases, these were merely the theoretical settings in which managers were located when performing their role.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: L Education (General) ; LB2300 Higher Education