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Process to practice: The evolving role of the academic middle manager in English further education colleges

Wolstencroft, P and Lloyd, C (2019) Process to practice: The evolving role of the academic middle manager in English further education colleges. Management in Education, 33 (3). pp. 118-125. ISSN 0892-0206

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Abstract

The English further education sector has undergone significant change since the Further and Higher Education Act (1992) encouraged a culture of entrepreneurship, competition and the use of what was seen as best practice from the commercial sector. This led to a cultural shift and the introduction of many new initiatives – a situation that still exists now. The implementation of these initiatives was often delegated to middle managers – a group of people who occupied the gap between the senior leaders and the lecturers in the classroom. Current austerity measures, restructuring and the shift towards the creation of larger organizations have resulted in reorganizations that could present opportunities for middle managers to participate in the strategic processes and leadership of the organization, further developing their role (Greatbatch and Tate, 2018). The purpose of this article is to investigate the leadership and management aspects of the middle-manager’s role within the context of further education in England. Although many managers in the sector are reluctant to identify as leaders (Briggs, 2006), our research shows that their role has evolved so that they are undertaking a range of activities that could be classified as leadership. We suggest that using ‘practice’ rather than ‘process’ as a descriptor of the role would reframe, identify and bring forward the leadership aspects of what they do. Encouraging a focus on a holistic, practice-based approach, rather than a succession of process-driven tasks, could help managers to perform their role more effectively. Findings taken from interviews with 32 participants and a questionnaire with 302 responses are used to illustrate our argument. © 2019 British Educational Leadership, Management & Administration Society (BELMAS).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Wolstencroft,p & Lloyd, C. Process to practice: The evolving role of the academic middle manager in English further education colleges, Management in Education.33(3) pp. 118-125. Copyright © 2019 British Educational Leadership,Management & Administration Society (BELMAS)). https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0892020619840074
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: Business & Management (new Sep 19)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2020 10:38
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2020 10:48
DOI or Identification number: 10.1177/0892020619840074
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13947

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