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The changing nature of academic work

Currie, J. and Vidovich, L. (2009) The changing nature of academic work. In: Tight, M., Mok, K.H., Huisman, J. and Morphew, C., (eds.) The Routledge International Handbook of Higher Education. Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group, New York, pp. 441-452.

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Academic work is increasingly located within the complex interplay between global, national and local contexts, pushing and pulling in different directions. Universities, whose "core business" is knowledge production, have become more important for nations in today's global economy, where knowledge is often treated as a commodity that moves quickly around the world. This sharper focus on universities in a nation's economic fortunes has resulted in significant policy changes that are rapidly transforming the working conditions of academics and their professional identities. This chapter discusses the changing nature of academic work, with a particular focus on the last decade, which has seen universities and academics altering their mission statements and strategic plans to integrate themselves into the global knowledge economy. It draws on empirical studies, including our own, that highlight the impact of corporate managerialism and new accountability mechanisms on academic work. Building upon the benchmark carnegie international survey of the academic profession across 14 countries in the early 1990s (Altbach, 1996), this chapter provides a follow-up based on the preliminary results of academics surveyed in two of the 20 countries during 2007-the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia-about the consequences of funding constraints, expansion of higher education, greater competition and pressures to be more business-like and become more international (Universities UK, 2007; Coates et al., 2008).

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
Copyright: 2009 Taylor & Francis
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