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Article
Publication date: 5 November 2018

Silvia Pereira de Castro Casa Nova, Isabel Costa Lourenço and Renato Ferreira LeitãoAzevedo

This study aims to analyse the impacts of an institutional change process on a specific higher education institution in Europe and the trade-offs between the faculty…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to analyse the impacts of an institutional change process on a specific higher education institution in Europe and the trade-offs between the faculty perceptions of success and the organization image during this process, in light of the identity institutional theory.

Design/methodology/approach

The impacts of this institutional change are analysed and discussed based on in-depth interviews conducted with faculty members of the accounting department in which they reflected upon academic success vis-a-vis the career assessment system adopted, followed up by those faculty members’ answering an electronic questionnaire about organizational identity and image perception (Gioia et al., 2000).

Findings

Considering the individual perspectives, faculty are concerned about their vocations and aspirations, with feelings of apprehension and insecurity, perceiving the institutional goals as too high and potentially unattainable. By shifting the priority towards research, costs in terms of losing the institutional excellence in teaching might arise, which has been traditionally keen to the institute’s organizational identity and consistent with faculty’s perceptions of academic success.

Research limitations/implications

As in any research endeavour, some limitations might emerge. First, the authors addressed the context of a specific business school, in a European country. It is certainly true that culture plays a role in terms of both organizational and national levels. The authors acknowledge this as a limitation. Nevertheless, this research takes a “local” stance, the logic of academic evaluation and its impacts on institutional and individual identity formation processes is a worldwide phenomenon. Second, in defining the authors’ selection criteria, the authors excluded the possibility of other voices to be heard, both in the department itself and in the business school. Regarding the department, the authors argue that those are the ones who could influence future decisions, considering that they are the only ones eligible for the governing bodies under the institute’s regulations. Regarding the business school, adding other department(s) means adding other discipline(s) to the authors’ analysis with specific and different dynamics of researching, publishing and teaching, which also impacts the expectations regarding career and academic success.

Practical implications

First, before beginning an institutional change process, it is necessary to assess the vocations and aspirations of its members. The solution requires to reanalyse academic career premises and to reconsider the weights given to each academic activity, or furthermore, to offer more than one career path, so as to make it flexible for each faculty to follow their vocations and aspirations or to adapt to life demands. Second, in terms of organizational identity and image, the challenge is to minimize the gap between the construed external image and the internal identity, striving to achieve a balance between teaching, research, outreach and service.

Originality/value

Because of the nature of the academic work, the authors propose that the application of the theory should be preceded by a careful consideration of what is academic success. The misalignments studied and reported here reveal a multilevel phenomenon, wherein individual academic identities are often in conflict with the institutional image. The authors’ study entails a contribution to the application of the identity institutional theory to academic institutions.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2019

Chloé Adler and Carole Lalonde

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize a body of research addressing changes in academic identity brought on by neo-liberal university management while proposing a new…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize a body of research addressing changes in academic identity brought on by neo-liberal university management while proposing a new interpretation based on the institutional work theory and a relational approach to agency.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed 19 qualitative empirical studies regarding the impact of new public management policies on academic identity within universities from different countries to support a qualitative meta-synthesis.

Findings

The meta-synthesis established a classification of work identity and self-identity that reflects variable but globally difficult experiences with the universities’ neo-liberal management. The results also indicate that, paradoxically, academics contribute to the perpetuation of managerialism through protection strategies and institutional maintenance work while acknowledging their painful effects on their identity. Despite the control and monitoring measures put in place by university administrations, academics have assumed a pragmatic approach to identity by using the prevailing spaces of autonomy and engaging in constant self-questioning. Those involved could make better use of these free spaces by adopting projective agency, that is by expanding the areas of support, collaboration and creativity that, by their own admission, make up the academic profession.

Originality/value

This meta-synthesis sheds light on the limits of current academic identity research while advancing studies conducted on institutional work, primarily by highlighting the type of agency used by actors during institutional change; at a practical level, this research promotes discussion on the manner in which academics could use their agency and reflexive skills by pushing their institutional work surrounding identity recreation further.

Details

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5648

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Book part
Publication date: 1 January 2012

Julie White

The work of academics has intensified, but the focus for most remains on teaching, research and contribution to service. Institutional imperatives and positioning within…

Abstract

The work of academics has intensified, but the focus for most remains on teaching, research and contribution to service. Institutional imperatives and positioning within universities impact significantly on how individual academics fashion themselves to fit with expectations and demands. There is, of course, no simple version of scholarly identity and Barnett (2000) called attention to the ‘super complexity’ of academic work some time ago. ‘Scholarly’ has been deliberately used in the title of this chapter, even though ‘academic’ is also used throughout. The purpose here is to draw attention to – and avoid – the binary that Stuart Hall notes: Academic work is inherently conservative in as much as it seeks, first, to fulfill the relatively narrow and policed goals and interests of a given discipline or profession and, second, to fulfill the increasingly corporatized mission of higher education; intellectual work, in contrast is relentlessly critical, self-critical, and potentially revolutionary for it aims to critique, change, and even destroy institutions, disciplines and professions that rationalize exploitation, inequality and injustice. (reported in Olsen & Worsham, 2003, p. 13)

Details

Hard Labour? Academic Work and the Changing Landscape of Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-501-3

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Book part
Publication date: 26 September 2013

Meghan Pifer and Vicki Baker

In this chapter, we review the ways in which scholars have conceptualized and relied on the notion of identity to understand the academic career. We explore the use of…

Abstract

In this chapter, we review the ways in which scholars have conceptualized and relied on the notion of identity to understand the academic career. We explore the use of identity as a theoretical construct in research about the experience of being an academic. We discuss the individual and organizational factors that scholars have focused on when seeking to understand the role of professional and personal identity in academic careers, as well as recent and emerging shifts in the use of identity within this line of scholarship. Research suggests that if we are to understand the future of the academic career, we must understand the identities of its current and prospective members and, more importantly, how those identities shape goals, behaviors, and outcomes. We close with recommendations for future research and theory development.

Details

Theory and Method in Higher Education Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78190-682-8

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Kathryn Haynes and Anne Fearfull

The aim of this paper is to examine gendered identities of women academics by exploring the interplay and exploitation of internal and external, personal and academic

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to examine gendered identities of women academics by exploring the interplay and exploitation of internal and external, personal and academic, identities. The paper also considers the relative prioritisation of the three main academic activities of teaching, research, and administration, in which an enhanced emphasis on research performance, as opposed to teaching and administration, is what is often deemed to represent “success” in academia.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on autoethnographical detail, the paper reflects on the complexities of identities as they are constructed, developed, experienced and understood both by themselves and by others. By presenting several short autobiographical vignettes, the paper examines perceptions of the gendered identity of women in academia as caring, “motherly” and nurturing, and demonstrates attempts to exploit so‐called “natural” feminine, mothering traits as a means of fulfilling the pastoral and administrative components of universities.

Findings

In considering such stereotypes, the paper addresses examples of their self‐fulfilment, whilst considering how academic structures and practices also impose such distinctions, in a context where academic “success” is often typified by research, publications and academic networking.

Originality/value

The paper considers both possibilities for resistance and the negative implications for the career success of women academics, arguing that, until these gendered stereotypes are challenged, women academics will continue to be disadvantaged within academic institutions.

Details

Pacific Accounting Review, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0114-0582

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 17 September 2021

Alice Lam

The experience of “misfit” between individuals’ professional identities and their work roles or work contexts is common in career transitions. In contrast to extant…

Abstract

The experience of “misfit” between individuals’ professional identities and their work roles or work contexts is common in career transitions. In contrast to extant literature that focuses on the identity struggle of these people, this study examines how problematic identity dynamics associated with misfit motivate the shift toward the development of positive identities and induce creativity in meaning-making and change-oriented actions. It builds on the insights of Mead (1934) and Joas (1996) who view creativity as the most significant aspect of human agency, and the identity work literature that highlights the agentic process in identity construction. The study looks at a group of “pracademics” whose career trajectories deviate from the prototypical patterns in academia. It examines the identity work strategies that these people undertake to overcome misfit and shows how identity work liberates them from the limits of a particular identity, and facilitates new activities that alter aspects of their work contexts. The study advances our understanding of identity work as a creative human endeavor and sheds new light on the change-oriented agency of misfits.

Details

Organizing Creativity in the Innovation Journey
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-874-4

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2004

John Blenkinsopp and Brenda Stalker

The phenomenon of current practitioners moving into academia is generally welcomed in terms addressing recruitment problems and the perceived benefit of bringing practical…

Abstract

The phenomenon of current practitioners moving into academia is generally welcomed in terms addressing recruitment problems and the perceived benefit of bringing practical experience into the academic setting. Yet the individual practitioner may encounter considerable difficulties with this career transition. This paper identifies the different sources and discourses of credibility – management experience versus academic knowledge – as particularly relevant, and considers the ways in which these “emergent management academics” manage their self‐identities in their day‐to‐day interactions.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 42 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Kylie Budge, Narelle Lemon and Megan McPherson

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the growing use of Twitter in academic and artist practices. The authors explore commonalities, overlaps and differences within…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the growing use of Twitter in academic and artist practices. The authors explore commonalities, overlaps and differences within the reflections on the initial and ongoing motivations, usage and learnings the authors have encountered whilst immersed in this environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors locate the particular inquiry by drawing on the literature surrounding digital identities, academic literacies and digital scholarship. Departing from other studies, the focus is on a narrative inquiry of the lived experiences as academics and as artists using Twitter.

Findings

Academics use of Twitter plays a distinctly social role enabling communication that connects, and fostering accessible and approachable acts. It enables a space for challenging norms of academic ways of being and behaving. In addition, the authors draw conclusions about the “messiness” of the interconnected space that incorporates multiple identities, and highlight the risk taking the authors associate with using Twitter.

Research limitations/implications

Academic practice is ever changing in the contemporary university. This initial study of academic and artist practices and the use of Twitter suggests future developments including participants using similar questions to elicit notions of practice to engage in a deeper understanding of motivations and behaviours.

Practical implications

In using social media tools such as Twitter, individual academics and their practices are modified; the impact of this practice is visible.

Originality/value

The authors contribute to emerging discussions and understandings about academics, social media and identity. The authors argue that by participating in the use of Twitter, the authors are part of the collective process of challenging what it means to be an academic and artist.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 May 2020

Joanna Fox and Roz Gasper

This study aims to review how the mental ill-health of academic staff is regarded in higher education institutions (HEIs) and explore the decision to disclose (or not) a…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to review how the mental ill-health of academic staff is regarded in higher education institutions (HEIs) and explore the decision to disclose (or not) a mental health condition whilst working in this sector.

Design/methodology/approach

The choice to disclose is explored by using duoethnography undertaken by two female academics working in this context who both experience mental ill-health. Both authors recorded their experiences, which were then shared with each other and analysed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The themes that emerged from the authors’ reflections comprise: a discussion of the connection between work-life identities and the impact of mental ill-health in the workplace; a consideration of the elements that influence our decision to disclose (or not) mental health diagnoses within HEI; and an examination of the additional burden of identity work for those who experience mental ill-health.

Originality/value

The study contributes to this evidence base by exploring the choice to disclose a mental health diagnosis in HEIs. It investigates this highly personal decision and suggests that this choice depends on the context in which we are located and how we experience our different identities in the workplace. Furthermore, it highlights the importance for HEIs to develop positive employment practices to support academic staff with mental ill-health to disclose a mental health condition and to achieve a good workplace environment whilst emphasising the need for more empirical work to explore the decision to disclose (or not) in this sector.

Details

Journal of Organizational Ethnography, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6749

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Book part
Publication date: 16 July 2014

Samuel Beasley, I. S. Keino Miller and Kevin Cokley

In this chapter, the authors utilize both risk and resilience as conceptual frameworks to discuss the academic and psychosocial development of African American adolescent…

Abstract

In this chapter, the authors utilize both risk and resilience as conceptual frameworks to discuss the academic and psychosocial development of African American adolescent males. Given the amount of attention placed on the academic underachievement of African American males, they explore popular academic themes, such as academic disidentification and the role of teachers and parents. The authors examine psychosocial themes related to racial and athletic identity, the phenomenon of cool pose and “acting Black,” and the development of alternative masculinities. They conclude the chapter with recommendations for education research, practice and policy.

Details

African American Male Students in PreK-12 Schools: Informing Research, Policy, and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-783-2

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