Understanding academic identity conflicts in the public university: importance of work ideologies

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Connections in Higher Education Vol. 35

July, 2012, 373 pages
Published by
N. Brown, S.M. Jones, & A. Adam
ISBN
0 908557 89 2
Abstract 

Our study explores the prevalence of academic identity conflicts in a public university by focusing on the work ideologies academics draw upon when reflecting on the purpose of higher education and academic work. Framing the study are three related propositions: (1) public universities face unique identity problems arising from pressures to align the institution and its academic workforce around a commercial ethos and student as consumer principles; (2) work ideologies play a key role in understanding academic identity conflicts by highlighting the competing and contradictory beliefs on which higher education and academic work is (should be) organised; and (3) academics voice work ideologies consistent with their positions in the university hierarchy. Academic responses to an online survey indicated professors and lecturers shared a deep-seated antipathy to a market ethos that reduces higher education to a narrow economic function. Implications and challenges associated with viewing academic identity conflicts from a work ideologies perspective are considered.

Keywords: Academic identity, public university, work ideology 

Understanding academic identity conflicts in the public university: importance of work ideologies

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Winter, Richard & O’Donohue, Wayne