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Knowledge, Higher Education, and the New ManagerialismThe Changing Management of UK Universities$

Rosemary Deem, Sam Hillyard, and Michael Reed

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199265909

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199265909.001.0001

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(p.191) APPENDIX 1 FOCUS GROUP AND INTERVIEW QUESTIONS USED IN THE ESRC PROJECT

(p.191) APPENDIX 1 FOCUS GROUP AND INTERVIEW QUESTIONS USED IN THE ESRC PROJECT

Source:
Knowledge, Higher Education, and the New Managerialism
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

(p.191) APPENDIX 1

FOCUS GROUP AND INTERVIEW QUESTIONS USED IN THE ESRC PROJECT

Themes for discussion

The meaning of the term ‘management’ (and whether it is viewed as neutral, positive, negative, or all three).

How management practices are characterized and whether they are currently changing (or whether they have already changed).

Identifying what pressures in institutions lead to more emphasis on management.

Whether academics from different disciplines have different views about management.

What characteristics successful academic managers now need and how their careers are likely to have developed.

Whether there is a glass ceiling preventing women academics from entering the ranks of senior manager‐academics in significant numbers.

Whether it matters from what discipline background manager‐academics come.

What constitutes collegiality and whether it is seen as something still present in universities, something that is fast disappearing or a myth about a non‐existent golden past.

Whether academics are still (or were ever) characterized by professionalism (and what does the term mean) and how much autonomy academics still have.

Whether there are enhanced pressures on academics and manager‐academics to be accountable and if so how and to whom.

Development of career as manager

Was it always your ambition to work at a management level?

Have you been appointed or elected to this position? Is it permanent? Could you explain how you came to be a Dean/Head of School—what happened to you, or what were the decisions that you took which led to your progression?

What experiences have you had that have been of benefit to your progression to seniority within higher education?

What, in your experience, may have mitigated against your progression—and how did you set about overcoming those obstacles?

Do you think your career would have been different if you had been a woman/man (as applicable)? If so, how and why?

Could you identify a point at which you felt least equipped or skilled to deal with the demands that were placed on you? How have you learnt how to manage?

How might you have been better prepared? What forms of support, if any, have been useful to you during your progression?

Defining role

What do you think is the purpose of management at the level of Dean/Head of School?

In relation to your faculty/school, do you consider yourself to be a leader, resource handler, representative academic or hands on head of a unit, or are you all those things?

How has that function evolved—have you been able to define your role and function for yourself? Have you been able to develop and influence how others in the institution interpret your function?

To what extent, and how, do you feel that the job of being a manager at this level is different in respect of your previous experiences at other levels? To what extent has your experience of doing the job of Dean/Head of School differed from any expectations you might have had about what work at this level involves?

How much does your role bring you into contact with administrators? At what level? Do you like working with administrators?

(p.193) Managing in this institution

What sort of institution do you think this is? How would you conceptualize it?

Do you identify yourself with this institution?—Is this how you would like the institution to be? How does your work within the school contribute to or relate to change and development within the institution?

Does your role extend to and contribute to work ‘at the centre’? What are the main limitations to your influence in the centre?

Could you describe a situation in which your loyalty—to the school/faculty and to the centre—was divided?

Change

What does change mean to you? What is the function of the Dean/Head of School in relation to internal or external change? Is this mostly organizational change, cultural change, or something else?

Faculty/school contexts—present experience of management

What would you say are the main reasons that you were selected to be Dean/Head of School here? To what extent do you feel that the job of being a manager is different here, in comparison to your experience of managing within other HE institutions?

Managing and relations with other people

What is your relation to Heads of Department? Do you have power and influence in a hierarchical sense? How would Deans or Heads of Department interpret your role? Does their interpretation present you with difficulties in respect of managing this school/faculty?

What power and influence do you have over people for whom you have responsibility, and how have you obtained this? Are you in a position yourself to manage and direct their work?

Over which staff do you have most direct influence? What would help you to improve or increase the level of authority you have in relation to other academics?

Do you mostly work with men, women, or both? Is there such a thing as a glass ceiling for women in this institution?

To whom are you accountable? Are you managed by anyone or by sets of people?

Whom do you trust—is trust a significant issue?

(p.194) Tasks

Is there a regular pattern to your work over a period of time, say a typical week?

What do you do on a day to day basis—what tasks constitute weekly business and schedule of a Dean/Head of School? What are the most vital tasks?

What degree of influence and choice do you have in determining and choosing the tasks that you have before you?

What are the tasks you enjoy most? And which least?

What tasks draw on your strengths?

What factors are involved in deciding how to handle particular tasks and situations? Do you rely on personal experience about what works, is there a rationality or overall rationale to the way you work?

How do you like to be managed?

How do you set yourself goals and objectives for the tasks that face you?

What are the key means by which you know how successful you are in your role?

Resources

What are the main resources you have that enable you to manage?—what are the tools with which you can have control or influence? What would improve your ability to manage?

Are there rational means and channels available to you and on which you can depend in order to exert control?—or is it necessary to continually assess, develop and evolve different means and strategies for dealing with each task or situation that faces you?

What stops you getting your own way?

Tensions and contradictions

What are the main struggles that you experience in your work?—could you typify the sources of struggle or characterize the nature of your struggle?

Are these problems that that you feel are essentially contradictory? What can you do to mediate or alleviate the consequences of these contradictory situations?

Could you describe an event in which you felt that your approach—the resources you drew on or the strategies you developed were inappropriate?

Could you describe an event that demanded action with which you felt personally uncomfortable?

What forms of support would bolster and sustain you in your job—What forms of support does a Dean/Head of School need?

How easy is it for a Dean/Head of School to find support? Is support something that you feel able to actively seek?

Do you have a partner? Children?

Do you find any tensions between your job and your out of work life? If so what are these?

What are your own career ambitions for the future?

Was it always your ambition to work at a senior level in a university?

How long have you held this position? Is it permanent? Could you explain how you came to be in this role? Where did you work before coming to X university? (if from outside academe originally) What were your expectations of working in higher education? Has the reality been different?

Do you think your career would have been different if you had been a woman/man (as applicable)? If so, how and why?

Defining role

What do you think is the purpose of management at this level of administration?

Do you think of yourself as a manager? If not, what would be a better descriptor?

How have your current role and function evolved—have you been able to define these for yourself? Have you been able to develop and influence how others in the institution interpret your function?

To what extent, and how, do you feel that the job of being a manager at this level is different in respect of your previous experiences at other levels? To what extent has your experience of doing the job differed from any expectations you might have had about what work at this level involves?

How much does your role bring you into contact with academics? At what level? Do you like working with academics?

Managing in this institution

What sort of institution do you think this is? How would you conceptualize it? Is this how you would like the institution to be?

(p.196) Do you identify yourself with this institution?

How does your work contribute to or relate to change and development within the institution?

Does your role extend to and contribute to what academics do?

Change

What does change mean to you? What is your function in relation to internal or external change? Is this mostly organizational change, cultural change, or something else?

Do you think that universities are easy to change? How do they compare with other organizations (in the public or private sectors)

What would you say are the main reasons that you were appointed to your current role? To what extent do you feel that the job of being a manager is different here, in comparison to your experience of elsewhere?

Managing and relations with other people

What is your relation to senior academics here? Do you have power and influence in a hierarchical sense?

What power and influence do you have over people for whom you have responsibility, and how have you obtained this? Are you in a position yourself to manage and direct their work?

Over which staff do you have most direct influence? What would help you to improve or increase the level of authority you have in relation to other staff?

Do you mostly work with men, women, or both? Is there such a thing as a glass ceiling for women in this institution?

To whom or what are you or do you feel accountable? Are you managed by anyone or by sets of people?

Whom do you trust—is trust a significant issue for you in this organization?

Takes

Is there a regular pattern to your work over a period of time, say a typical week?

What do you do on a day‐to‐day basis or weekly basis?

What degree of influence and choice do you have in determining and choosing the tasks that you have before you?

What are the tasks you enjoy most?

(p.197) What tasks draw on your strengths?

What factors are involved in deciding how to handle particular tasks and situations? Do you rely on personal experience about what works, is there a rationality or overall rationale to the way you work?

How do you like to be managed?

How do you set yourself goals and objectives for the tasks that face you?

What are the key means by which you know how successful you are in your role?

What are the main resources you have that enable you to manage? What are the tools with which you can have control or influence? What would improve your ability to manage?

Are there rational means and channels available to you and on which you can depend in order to exert control?

What if anything ever stops you getting your own way?

Tensions and contradictions

What are the main struggles that you experience in your work? Could you typify the sources of struggle or characterize the nature of your struggle?

Are these problems that that you feel are essentially contradictory? What can you do to mediate or alleviate the consequences of these contradictory situations?

Could you describe an event in which you felt that your approach—the resources you drew on or the strategies you developed—were inappropriate?

Could you describe an event that demanded action with which you felt personally uncomfortable?

Is there anything about your job that keeps you awake at night?

What forms of support would bolster and sustain you in your job? What forms of support does someone in your job need?

How easy is it to find support? Is support something that you feel actively seek?

Do you have a partner? Children?

Do you find any tensions between your job and your out of work life? If so what are these?

What are your own career ambitions for the future?

You

Why do you work in higher education?

Why did you choose to work at this institution?

What makes it worthwhile to work here: what are the rewards, the satisfactions?

And what are the downsides?

To what or whom are you most committed?: work area, people, institution?

Your work

What are the pressures, demands, and constraints of your work?

What conditions/behaviours are supportive, constraining, frustrating?

What would have to change to improve your working conditions/levels of success?

In your area, is there a team culture?

Do people have to ‘fit in’? What are they joining in with?

Do women and men both get on here equally well?

What objectives do you have? Who sets them?

What strategies are necessary in order to achieve these?

What drives / directs your work?

What levels of autonomy and discretion do you enjoy?

Your university as an institution

What is the culture of the institution? Strong, weak, confused, conflicting, changing?

Are there dominant cultures and subcultures?

Are there institution specific idiosyncracies, rituals, traditions, languages, jokes?

Are there institution‐specific myths, stories, beliefs?

What is the public face of the institution?

What is the internal character of the institution?

What is the work culture: stable, traditional, ad hoc?

Are there traditions and conventions of work? Are these positive or negative?

Are there traditions and conventions of management? Are these positive, negative or neutral?

Who are seen as ‘the managers’?

(p.199) Who does ‘the management’?

Has there been a notable crisis here? If so, how did the institution respond?

Was this response defensive, speculative, successful, unknown?

Other people

Who are the main characters in your daily work life? Who has greatest influence on your work?

What levels of trust, goodwill, politicking are in evidence?

Are people focused on structures?

Do structures and processes of work lead to competition or collaboration?

How are academics, students, and non‐academics characterized?

What is the relationship between academics and non‐academics?