Managing Ambiguity: Between Markets and Managerialism — A Case Study of ‘Middle’ Managers in Further Education

Gleeson, Denis and Shain, Farzana. 1999. Managing Ambiguity: Between Markets and Managerialism — A Case Study of ‘Middle’ Managers in Further Education. The Sociological Review, 47(3), pp. 461-490. ISSN 0038-0261 [Article]

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Advocates of devolved and market oriented Education reform, point to the benefits from self determination which enhance both teacher and managerial autonomy. Critics refer, on the other hand, to the ways in which running education institutions on business and accounting principles have introduced a new managerialism (Clarke et al, 1994; Pollitt, 1990; Clarke and Newman, 1997), which has driven a wedge between lecturers and senior manager interests. In Further Education, according to Elliott (1996a), this finds expression in conflict between lecturers in defence of professional and pedagogic values, and senior managers promoting the managerial bottom line (Randle and Brady, 1994). The danger in polarising such interests in this way is that it presents a plausible, if not oversimplified, analysis of organisational behaviour as market forces permeate FE. If this paper concurs with many critics on the effects of the new managerialism, it departs company from a prevailing determinism which assumes an over controlled view of the FE workplace (Seddon and Brown, 1997). Despite evidence of widespread casualisation and depro-fessionalisation in FE, this paper examines changing managerial cultures in the FE workplace, in this case among academic ‘middle’ managers, which suggests that managerialism is not as complete or uncontested as is often portrayed. The paper draws on an ESRC research project conducted by the authors (ESRC no. R000236713), looking at Changing Teaching and Managerial Cultures in FE, at a time when the sector is emerging from a series of funding crises associated with redundancies, industrial action, mismanagement and low morale at college level.

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Educational Studies
Educational Studies > Centre for Identities and Social Justice


1 August 1999Published

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10 Jul 2020 11:10

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10 Jul 2020 11:10

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