Exploring the way in which work is undertaken and managed in UK universities, Steven Shelley outlines how the UK higher education sector has been characterised by expansion with resource constraint since the 1980s. He argues that expansion has been enabled through a decentralised structure and an increasing use of market-based audit and funding mechanisms. In turn, university managers translate such structures into competitive practices which emphasise the importance of income generation and of customer service cultures as forms of work control.
In this context, the book examines how managers and staff respond to the constraints and structures of which they are part, and how the realities of university work influence the outcomes of higher education itself in terms of student learning, knowledge generation and 'quality'.
Dr Shelley draws extensively from case study research in four UK universities - a 'Russell Group' university, a provincial university established in the 1960s, a large former polytechnic, and a teaching-oriented regional former polytechnic, and analyses issues of autonomy, control, performance and the very condition of work and workers across a variety of occupations and at different levels in university organisations, quite literally from porter to professor.
Relevant to university managers and higher education policy makers; essential reading for those with responsibility for Human Resource Management and Staff Development functions in universities; the book will also appeal to students of work and HRM.
Dr Steve Shelley is Principal Lecturer in Human Resource Management at the Centre for Research in Employment Studies, University of Hertfordshire Business School.