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Title: An exploratory qualitative study on the experiences of work and life outside work of women academic and teaching staff in higher education in Hong Kong
Author: Singh, Rita Gill
ISNI:       0000 0004 9346 9202
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2020
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The higher education sector is characterised as competitive with heavy workloads and increased scrutiny of performance (Barcan, 2018; Gill, 2014). Yet this culture remains a relatively unexplored area in Hong Kong (HK) and the aim of this research is to explore and deepen understanding of women academic and teaching staff's experiences of work and life outside work. The research questions were: 1). How do women academic and teaching staff view the notion of ‘work'? and 2). What are their experiences of work and life outside work under the trend of marketisation of education? An exploratory qualitative study of 15 participants working in higher education underpinned by social constructivism and relying on semi-structured interviews was adopted while thematic analysis was employed to analyse the data. Evidence of work intensification and extensification was found in participants' accounts. However, differences were noted in terms of how participants explained their experiences of work with the negative experiences of teaching staff being closely associated with work intensification, extensification, and a perceived lack of recognition from management, whereas the positive experiences were linked with a strong professional work identity, personal achievement, ownership and a perceived tolerance of the work culture. A distinct finding was that husbands/partners were willing to perform feminised roles by helping participants manage domestic duties in Chinese culture, while the availability of inexpensive paid domestic help enabled participants to better manage work and other aspects of life although participants were expected to be ‘superwomen' in managing all roles well. Life outside work experiences, which did not exclusively focus on childcare/family, were impacted particularly by the precarious nature of contracts. This thesis makes a contribution to the body of knowledge on work and life issues through exploring our understandings of the meanings attributed to work and life outside work experiences in the HK context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Soc.Sci.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Women in Higher Education ; Higher Education ; Work Life balance ; Hong Kong