Advertisement

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and Its Impact on Academic Identity Within A Research-Intensive University

  • Graham Perkins
Original Article

Abstract

This study explores the impact of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) on academic identity within the context of a UK-based research-intensive higher education institution. TEF is the latest in a series of changes that have impacted upon the UK’s HE sector and it is highly likely to have a significant impact upon academic identity. Collecting evidence through sixteen qualitative interviews, findings show that while TEF may not alter the broad substance of what it means to be an academic in terms of engagement with research, education and citizenship activities, it has the potential to have profound implications in terms of exacerbating conflicts within identity. This paper argues that negative work outcomes result where role conflicts, and mismatches between expectation and reward, create difficulties in realising our desired versions of ourselves. Theoretical contributions relevant to debates around identity conflict are discussed, with practical contributions exploring the importance of resource allocations and the need to align expectations and rewards.

Keywords

identity academic identity conflict identity conflict TEF teaching excellence framework 

References

  1. Alvesson, M., Hardy, C. and Harley, B. (2008) ‘Reflecting on reflexivity: reflexive textual practices in organization and management theory’, Journal of Management Studies 45(3): 480–501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alvesson, M. and Sköldberg, K. (2009) Reflexive methodology: new vistas for qualitative research. 2nd Edition, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  3. Alvesson, M. (2011) Interpreting interviews, London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Angervall, P. and Beach, D. (2017) ‘The exploitation of academic work: women in teaching at Swedish universities’, Higher Education Policy 2017(1): 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ashforth, B.E. and Kreiner, G.E. (1999). ‘How can you do it? Dirty work and the challenge of constructing a positive identity,’ Academy of Management Review 24(3): 413–434.Google Scholar
  6. Ashforth, B.E. and Mael, F.A. (1989) ‘Social identity theory and the organization’, Academy of Management Review 14(1): 20–39.Google Scholar
  7. Bolden, R., Gosling, J. and O’Brien, A. (2014) ‘Citizens of the academic community? A societal perspective on leadership in UK higher education’, Studies in Higher Education 39(5): 754–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boyd, P. and Smith, C. (2016) ‘The contemporary academic: orientation towards research work and researcher identity of higher education lecturers in the health professions’, Studies in Higher Education 41(4): 678–695.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Braun, V. and Clarke, V. (2006) ‘Using thematic analysis in psychology’, Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2): 77–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, A.D. (2015) ‘Identities and identity work in organizations’, International Journal of Management Reviews 17(1): 20–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, A.D. and Coupland, C. (2015) ‘Identity threats, identity work and elite professionals’, Organization Studies 36(10): 1315–1336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burnes, B., Wend, P. and Todnem By, R. (2014) ‘The changing face of English universities: reinventing collegiality for the twenty-first century’, Studies in Higher Education 39(6): 905–926.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collinson, D.L. (2003) ‘Identities and insecurities: selves at work’, Organization 10(3): 527–547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cooper, D. and Thatcher, S.M. (2010) ‘Identification in organizations: the role of self-concept orientations and identification motives’, Academy of Management Review 35(4): 516–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Creed, W.E.D., Scully, M.A. and Austin, J.R. (2002) ‘Clothes make the person? The tailoring of legitimating accounts and the social construction of identity’, Organization Science 13(5): 475–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Creswell, J.W. (2007) Qualitative inquiry and research design. 2nd Edition, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  17. Dallyn, S. (2014) ‘Naming the ideological reflexively: Contesting organizational norms and practices’, Organization 21(2): 244–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (2016) Success as a knowledge economy: teaching excellence, social mobility and student choice, London: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.Google Scholar
  19. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (2016) Building on success and learning from experience: an independent review of the research excellence framework, London: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.Google Scholar
  20. Department for Education (2017a) Higher Education and Research Bill, https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/higher-education-and-research-bill, accessed 8 August 2017.
  21. Department for Education (2017b) Teaching Excellence Framework: Subject-Level Pilot Specification, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/teaching-excellence-framework-subject-level-pilot-specification, accessed 20 November 2017.
  22. Elkington, S. and Lawrence, L. (2012) ‘Non-specialism and shifting academic identities: a sign of the times?’, Innovations in Education and Teaching International 49(1): 51–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fiol, C.M., Pratt, M.G. and O’Connor, E.J. (2009) ‘Managing intractable identity conflicts’, Academy of Management Review 34(1): 32–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Frone, M.R. (2000) ‘Work-family conflict and employee psychiatric disorders: The national comorbidity survey’, Journal of Applied Psychology 85(6): 888–896.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Furedi, F. (2011) ‘Introduction to the marketisation of higher education and the student as consumer’, in M. Molesworth, R. Scullion, and E. Nixon (eds.) The marketisation of higher education and the student as consumer, London: Routledge, pp. 1–7.Google Scholar
  26. Gabriel, Y. (2010) ‘Organization studies: a space for ideas, identities and agonies’, Organization Studies 31(6): 757–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Giddens, A. (1991) Modernity and Self-identity: self and identity in the late modern age, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Halford, S., and Leonard, P. (1999) ‘New identities? Professionalism, managerialism and the construction of self’, in M. Exworthy and S. Halford (eds.) Professionals and the new managerialism in the public sector, Buckingham: Open University Press, pp. 102–120.Google Scholar
  29. Havergal, C. (2016) Mock TEF Results Revealed: A New Hierarchy Emerges. Times Higher Education, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/features/mock-teaching-excellence-framework-tef-results-revealed-a-new-hierarchy-emerges accessed 8th July 2016.
  30. HEFCE (2017) About the TEF, http://www.hefce.ac.uk/lt/tef/whatistef/, accessed 8 August 2017.
  31. Hearn, J. (2008) ‘Feeling out of place? Towards the transnationalizations of emotions’, in S. Fineman (eds) The emotional organization: passions and power, London: Blackwell, pp. 184–201.Google Scholar
  32. Henkel, M. (2005) ‘Academic identity and autonomy in a changing policy environment’, Higher Education 49(1–2): 155–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hirsch, J.B. and Kang, S.K. (2016) ‘Mechanisms of identity conflict’, Personality and Social Psychology Review 20(3): 223–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Holmes, O., Whitman, M.V., Campbell, K.S. and Johnson, D.E. (2016) ‘Exploring the social identity threat response framework’, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal 35(3): 205–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Holroyd, J. and Saul, J. (2016) ‘Will the teaching excellence framework be sexist?’ Guardian Higher Education Network, 4 April. https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/apr/04/will-the-teaching-excellence-framework-be-sexist accessed 8 July 2016.
  36. Horton, K.E., Bayerl, P.S. and Jacobs, G. (2014) ‘Identity conflicts at work: an integrative framework’, Journal of Organizational Behaviour 35(S1): S6–S22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hunt, S. (2016) ‘Want to improve teaching in universities? value those who teach’, Guardian Higher Education Network, 11 January. https://www.theguardian.com/higher-education-network/2016/jan/11/want-to-improve-teaching-in-universities-value-those-who-teach accessed 8 July 2016.
  38. Ibarra, H. (2007) Identity transitions: possible selves, liminality and the dynamics of voluntary career change, Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD Working Paper 31.Google Scholar
  39. Jenkins, R. (1996) Social identity, London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Knights, D. and Clarke, C.A. (2014) ‘It’s a bittersweet symphony, this life: fragile academic selves and insecure identities at work’, Organization Studies 35(3): 335–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kodeih, F. (2016) ‘Managing occupational identity and institutional pressure within French business schools’, Journal of Management Development 35(2): 280–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kogan, M. (2000) ‘Higher education communities and academic identity’, Higher Education Quarterly 54(3): 207–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Li, J. (2016) ‘The global ranking regime and the reconfiguration of higher education: Comparative case studies on research assessment exercises in China, Hong Kong, and Japan’, Higher Education Policy 29(4): 473–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Madikizela-Madiya, N. and Le Roux, C.S. (2017) ‘Space and academic identity construction in higher education: An open and distance learning perspective’, Higher Education Policy 30(2): 185–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Miller, B. (2014) ‘Free to manage? A neo-liberal defence of academic freedom in British higher education’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 36(2): 143–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mitchell, R.J., Parker, V. and Giles, M. (2011) ‘When do interprofessional teams succeed? Investigating the moderating roles of team and professional identity in inter-professional effectiveness’, Human Relations 64(10): 1321–1343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mok, K.H. and Neubauer, D. (2016) ‘Higher education governance in crisis: a critical reflection on the massification of higher education, graduate employment and social mobility’, Journal of Education and Work 29(1): 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Murphy, E. (2017) ‘Stop celebrating the TEF results — your hypocrisy is galling’! Times Higher Education, https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/stop-celebrating-tef-results-your-hypocrisy-galling accessed 8 August 2017.
  49. Murphy, T. and Sage, D. (2014) ‘Perceptions of the UK’s Research Excellence Framework 2014: a media analysis’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 36(6): 603–615.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. O’Connor, P. and O’Hagan, C. (2016) ‘Excellence in university academic staff evaluation: A problematic reality?’, Studies in Higher Education 41(11): 1943–1957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Petriglieri, J.L. (2007) Towards a theory of identity threat, Fontainebleau, France: INSEAD Working Paper Collection 74.Google Scholar
  52. Petriglieri, J.L. (2011) ‘Under threat: responses to and the consequences of threats to individuals’ identities’, Academy of Management Review 36(4): 641–662.Google Scholar
  53. Pidd, M. and Broadbent, J. (2015) ‘Business and management studies in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework’, British Journal of Management 26(4): 569–581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Richard, J.E., Plimmer, G., Fam, K.-S. and Campbell, C. (2015) ‘Publishing success of marketing academics: antecedents and outcomes’, European Journal of Marketing 49(1/2): 123–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Settles, I.H. (2004) ‘When multiple identities interfere: The role of identity centrality’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 30(4): 487–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Strathern, M. (2000) ‘The tyranny of transparency’, British Educational Research Journal 26(3): 310–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Steele, C.M. (1997) ‘A threat in the air: how stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance’, American Psychologist 52(6): 613–629.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sveningsson, S. and Alvesson, M. (2003) ‘Managing managerial identities: organizational fragmentation, discourse and identity struggle’, Human Relations 56(10): 1163–1193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Taylor, S.E, and Brown, J.D. (1988) ‘Illusion and well-being: a social psychological perspective on mental health’, Psychological Bulletin 103(2): 193–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Tomlinson, M. (2016) The impact of market-driven higher education on student-university relations: investing, consuming and competing. Higher Education Policy. 29(2): 149–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Tracey, P. and Phillips, N. (2016) ‘Managing the consequences of organizational stigmatization: identity work in a social enterprise’, Academy of Management Journal 59(3): 740–765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Watson, C. (2011) ‘Accountability, transparency, redundancy: academic identities in an era of “excellence”’, British Educational Research Journal 37(6): 955–971.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Welch, A. (2016) ‘Audit culture and academic production’, Higher Education Policy 29(4): 511–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Winter, R.P. and O’Donohue, W. (2012) ‘Academic identity tensions in the public university: which values really matter?’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 34(6): 565–573.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Winter, R. (2009) ‘Academic management or managed academic? Academic identity schisms in higher education’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 31(2): 121–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Yin, R.K. (2003) Case study research: design and methods. 3rd Edition, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© International Association of Universities 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Exeter Business SchoolExeterUK

Personalised recommendations