The academic middle manager in higher education : perceptions and aspirations

Oldman, Crystal Elizabeth (2014). The academic middle manager in higher education : perceptions and aspirations. EdD thesis The Open University.



This thesis examines the knowledge, skills and attributes required by middle managers in higher education institutions and the aspirations of academics to move to a management position. Taking a grounded theory approach to the design of the study and the analysis of the findings, 26 middle managers from three 'post 1992' universities in England were interviewed in depth about their positions and their views on the knowledge, skills and attributes required in delivering their roles.

An illustrative model was developed from the analysis of the interview data to demonstrate the relationship between the elements identified in the study as essential in the delivery of the middle manager's role.

The support and development needs of managers were identified along with the unexpected finding that managers from industry could enter higher education successfully with no prior experience of employment in the sector.

In parallel with the interviews, the academic communities of the three universities were offered the opportunity to complete a survey to provide some contextual material on their perceptions of management in higher education and their aspirations to become managers in their future careers.

The findings of the study are relevant to human resource departments and senior teams supporting recruitment to academic middle management posts and meeting the development needs of current middle managers.

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