Sustaining a collegiate environment: Colleagueship, community and choice at an anonymous business school

Jakov Jandric, Rick Delbridge, Paolo Quattrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The increasing push towards centralisation and bureaucratisation in higher education, further exacerbated by the disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic, calls for a better understanding of the role and importance of collegiality in contemporary universities. In the article we address this question by looking into the necessary conditions and barriers to sustaining a collegiate environment. The empirical focus is placed on a university business school. Such departments are considered to be leading the way in utilizing managerialist approaches to academic work and governance. Specifically, our focus is on academics, academic leaders and professional support staff at Anonymous Business School (ABS), a department in a large civic UK university. We interviewed 32 participants across the school, ranging from early career academics to experienced professors and members of department leadership teams. The findings suggest a whole range of perspectives on collegiality, with features of horizontal collegiality perceived as key to successful academic response to the crisis. The findings also indicate how sustaining a collegiate environment within the department requires both choice and effort from leadership and from staff, particularly when decision making is primarily located at the centre of the university, beyond the department itself. The choice and effort made across different collegiate pockets contribute to the department becoming an ‘island of collegiality’ within the increasingly centralised and bureaucratised university hierarchy. In this sense, the leadership choice and effort to establish supporting mechanisms, and the staff choice and efforts to, in turn, embrace and build interpersonal relationships and professional identities are key to sustaining a collegial environment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalResearch in the Sociology of Organizations
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 May 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • collegial pockets
  • collegiate environment
  • UK business school
  • islands of collegiality
  • choice and effort
  • community


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