NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1132996
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0729-4360
The Mismeasure of Academic Labour
Papadopoulos, Angelika
Higher Education Research and Development, v36 n3 p511-525 2017
In quantifying and qualifying the scope of academic labour, workload models serve multiple ends. They are intended to facilitate equitable and transparent divisions of academic work, to provide academics with a sense of whether their workload is reasonable relative to their colleagues, and universities with a mechanism for rationalising the allocation of responsibilities. Existing scholarship exploring workload models examines the impact of modelling on career progress or occupational stress, or takes the form of advice from academic unions. A third body of research attempts to theorise the operational challenges and impact of workload models using small studies of their implementation. Workload models can also be seen as a "policy technology" shaping academic identities. Priorities are signalled through the differential weighting of academic activities. In a climate of looming workforce shortages and increasing staff/student ratios, workload intensification is a managerial strategy attempting to meet institutional needs without incurring additional costs. Workload models cannot protect workers against this, but they should provide a mechanism by which thresholds of reasonableness can be defined. Analysis of workload models demonstrates that they incorporate assumptions about teaching that have been subverted by structural shifts in operating practices. Further dissonances between model assumptions and contemporary practices are illustrated through secondary analysis of responses to a survey of academic staff conducted in 2015. The unintended consequence of workload modelling's effort to regulate academic labour is a performance guided by simulacra that incorporate representations of academic work no longer reflected in contemporary conditions of practice. This performance ultimately conceals the absence of what models were supposed to achieve--transparent and reasonable allocations of work.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A