To read this content please select one of the options below:

Succumbing, surviving, succeeding? Women managers in academia

Barbara Marcia Thompson (Department of Childhood Social Work and Social Care, University of Chichester, Chichester, UK)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 6 July 2015




The purpose of this paper is to address an under-explored and under-theorised aspect of gender work in UK academia in that it looks at the professional lives of middle and senior women managers and leaders who are responsible for initial teacher training in their institutions. As Maguire (2002) and Murray (2002, 2006) point out, within academia, teacher trainers occupy a particularly under-researched space despite some recent interest (Korthagen and Vasalos, 2005; Thompson, 2007).


This research draws on a larger study which explored how 22 middle and senior managers and leaders in ten institutions in England try to come to terms with carrying out their roles in the education marketplace. In-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out with these women and data were also collected from field notes from participant observation undertaken at three of the institutions.


Whereas some women are moving into positions of authority in the education marketplace, some existing women managers are being marginalised within new internally differentiated layers of managerial structures. Simultaneously, many women who manage teacher training are engaged in a struggle for survival individually and professionally. Those who succeed have managed to re-invent themselves to endorse neo-liberal discourses.


Original empirical research which sheds new light on previous discourses related to women managers in neo-liberal academia.



Thompson, B.M. (2015), "Succumbing, surviving, succeeding? Women managers in academia", Gender in Management, Vol. 30 No. 5, pp. 397-413.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles