Machin, Denry (2016) Managerialism in international schools: a critical enquiry into the professional identity work of head teachers. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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With prior research suggesting that educational leaders in Western contexts are discomforted by managerialism, this thesis considers why, despite benign market forces and regulatory freedoms, international school Heads might find appeal in managerial identifications. The international school context, and the managers within, thereby offer a unique and important site of new theorisation.

Contrasting with studies which see education and managerialism as opposed, a reprofessionalisation of Headship is proposed, not as old or new, but as something newer still – as hybridic. Theories of identity, professionalism and institutional work provide means of exploring how international school Heads separate and/or harmonise educational and managerial identities and to what potential ends. An industry analysis, online survey and recruitment documentation review bracket out formal and/or technical coercion towards managerial identifications. With those influences set aside, a critical discourse analysis of twenty-five faceto-face interviews gives attention to managerialism as resulting from the legitimacy of management identifications – managerialism, for some Heads, is as empowering and affirming as education.

It is shown that i) educational and managerial identifications are resisted and/or adopted because Heads find benefit in both; and ii) that managerialism is moderated in ways which construct both schools and Headship (institutional work) and in ways which also construct individual Heads (identity work). The work Heads do on and for their selves connects, in a circulatory manner, with the work done on and for their schools.

Relevant internationally and nationally, it is concluded that hybridity allows Heads to successfully accomplish management without abandoning educational identifications. While some Heads resist managerialism and others more readily embrace it, most seem to find an occupational and/or ontological balance. This study’s findings are important, therefore, to serving and aspiring Heads, to school recruitment panels, to policy makers developing Headship qualifications and to academics researching manager-hybrids in this and other professional contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Science and Public Policy
Contributors: Cropper, S (Thesis advisor)
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 09:27
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2022 15:28

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