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Academics as professionals or managers? A textual analysis of interview data

John Chandler (Organisation Studies Research Group, University of East London Business School, London, UK)

Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management

ISSN: 1176-6093

Article publication date: 7 March 2008




This paper aims to explore the themes of professionalism and managerialism in how academics in England talk about their work in universities today. The aim is to examine how academics represent their work and to identify what kind of identifications they make in the process. In doing so, it is hoped to shed some light on how academics can position themselves in relation to managerialism in the English academy, while also exploring the value of a particular methodological approach to doing so.


The paper employs Fairclough's approach to textual analysis in analysing extracts from interview data as part of a critical discourse analysis of the work of academics in universities in England at a particular time.


The paper suggests that individual academics in middle ranking positions do not identify in a straightforward way either with managerialism or professionalism. Instead they perform ambiguous, ambivalent, complex and fluid positionings of the self in relation to the themes of managerialism and professionalism.


The paper demonstrates that the use of Fairclough's approach to textual analysis can provide a rich picture of individual social positionings from relatively short extracts of interview data.



Chandler, J. (2008), "Academics as professionals or managers? A textual analysis of interview data", Qualitative Research in Accounting & Management, Vol. 5 No. 1, pp. 48-63.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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