Managing the Changelings

get ready irregulars! a call to action

Academic Irregularities

Crossing my Twitter timeline yesterday was a piece I might not have ordinarily encountered.  ‘From episodic to continuous change’. 
by James Hutchinson
of the University of Exeter sets out to reflect on “key foundations for supporting continuous improvement rather than on the detail of the process itself.”  It occurred to me that if universities are at all concerned with reputation management, pieces like this might  cause a few of the best academics, students and professional staff to press pause on their online applications.

As I said on Twitter, this is one of the most vacuous examples of management discourse I have seen in a while. I say ‘in a while’ because I have been outside of universities for over two years now and so my exposure is more limited, but oh, how I’ve missed it. 

As regular readers of this blog may know, Helen Sauntson and I have co-authored a…

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How Can Radical Organizational Change Be Achieved More Easily?


SAGE Business and Management INK

[We’re pleased to welcome author Dr. Barbara Kump of WU–Vienna University of Economics and Business. Dr. Kump recently published an article in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Scienceentitled “Beyond Power Struggles: A Multilevel Perspective on Incongruences at the Interface of Practice, Knowledge, and Identity in Radical Organizational Change,”which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Kump briefly describes theresearch and its significance.]

What motivated you to pursue this research?

This research was inspired by observations from a radical change case in a 100-person firm in the Austrian building industry that our research team has been working with for several years. In many ways, that firm was a showcase company: When they started the radical change process, they were very successful in their core business (general renovation works), they had undergone successful changes in the past, the CEO was a charismatic leader, and the…

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Student Protection Plans: Neither plans nor protection

Moral hazards in Uni mismanagement – a chilling read

Academic Irregularities

Student Protection Plans (SPPs)are the creation of the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 and require universities to clarify their arrangements for students to complete their studies should the institution, course or campus close. But are these plans reliable? How will universities be held to account if it becomes necessary to activate them? And whose interests are most likely to be served by the terms of the SPPs? Are there some unforeseen moral hazards which attach totheir implementation?

These questions have taken on additional urgency this week when we have seen the release of distressing news for anyone who cares about UK universities and the talented staff and students who work within them. At least 8 universities are considering course closures, redundancies , or, as the University of Reading puts it
‘refreshing their vision’. So far, the following universities have made known their financial difficulties in recent days: Cardiff…

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Goodbye 2018 / Hello 2019

reflections by whisperers

The Research Whisperer

Where are we going? [Credit: Noly, on Pixabay]Where are we going? [Credit: Noly, on Pixabay] 2018 has ended with a rush for both of us. This is always a busy time of the year, but it seems extra hectic this year.

For Jonathan, he’s driving towards a 19 Dec deadline for a big bid application. For Tseen, she’s just finished convening 3 full days of researcher development for ECRs and MCRs and is now contemplating the work back-log.

Each year, we try to take a bit of time to think about what has happened and what might happen in the next year. We think it’s important to know where we’ve travelled, and where we are going – it helps us to keep track of where we are right now.

So, that’s what we are doing in this post. Looking back at where we’ve been over the last year, thinking about where we might wander next year, then…

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Research Maneuvers

field work

The Activist History Review

by Melvin E. Page

Every one of my research trips has a memorable story concerning connections I’ve made with Africans. Perhaps this tale—of my trek with a Malawi Army History team in 1991—was more significant than most, as it helped reshape my appreciation for the resourcefulness and resilience of a resurgent Africa. The soldiers who accompanied me were under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Njoloma, a combat veteran of the Malawi Army’s early1990s anti-terrorism campaign in northern Mozambique. After military training at Sandhurst and with the U.S. Army, he’d earned a graduate degree in History from the University of Malawi and subsequent designation as the Malawi Army’s official historian. His booklet, The Malawi Army: A Hundred Years Today was published just a few weeks before he invited me to join his team to interview a few of the last generation who lived the country’s World War One experiences. We…

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Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70: Affirming dignity at work and elsewhere

human rights in the workplace

Minding the Workplace

The United Nations has designated December 10 as Human Rights Day, and this year it commemorates the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. From the 70th anniversary webpage:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.

Article 23 of the UDHR specifically addresses work, and there’s a lot more that applies to workplace conditions in more general terms as well:

You can access the full UDHR here.

If you’d like a more interactive way of learning about the UDHR, take a look at this neat card set designed and published by…

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Implications of Work Effort and Discretion for Employee Well-Being and Career-Related Outcomes

hmmmm intensity matters

SAGE Business and Management INK

Researchers and Authors Argyro Avgoustaki of ESCP Europe Business School and Hans T. W. Frankort of the University of London recently published in article in the ILR Reviewentitled, “Implications of Work Effort and Discretion for Employee Well-Being and Career-Related Outcomes: An Integrative Assessment,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below they discuss the motivations and findings of this research.

ilra_71_4_coverWhat motivated you to pursue this research?

In an earlier study (Avgoustaki 2016), one of us examined factors predicting employee overtime. A natural follow-on question is how overtime relates to employee-level outcomes. Several reflections on this question motivated our current study. First, a broad and multidisciplinary literature shows that overtime predicts reduced well-being. The popular press often portrays this finding as signifying merely the kind of inconvenience that employees must endure to make headway in their careers. Yet, we were surprised to find no studies…

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“Well, if you knows of a better university…”

Important history notes


By Paul Temple

The centenary of the 1918 Armistice will have caused us all to reflect on the almost incomprehensible catastrophe of the First World War. One of its unanticipated effects – perhaps relatively minor at first, but of growing significance – was to change British higher education.

SRHE member John Taylor has published his meticulously-researched account of British universities in this period – The Impact of the First World War on British Universities: Emerging from the Shadows (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) – at exactly the right moment. Most students of British higher education are aware that the First War marked a turning point; for me, John’s most important contribution is to identify that turning point precisely: Saturday 23 November 1918, the date of almost certainly the most important single meeting in the history of British higher education. (Perhaps SRHE should hold an annual commemoration.)

It took place between Sir William…

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The measurement tail should not be wagging the impact dog

Real impact and engagement are connected

The Research Whisperer

Helen Sowey, smilingHelen Sowey was Senior Research Support Officer at the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, UNSW, from August 2017 to October 2018. Prior to this, she spent 20 years working as a practitioner in the health, justice, and social services sectors. Contact

This is an edited version of a paper presented at the Australasian Research Management Society Conference, Hobart, 20 September 2018.

A pop art representation of a puppy dog, mostly in different shades of blue‘Blue Dog’ by Romero Britto. Photo by Jonathan O’Donnell.

Australia’s Engagement and Impact Assessment encourages universities to ensure that their research is of benefit to the world beyond academia.

Or does it?

Having spent more than a year in a dedicated “engagement and impact” research support role, I am concerned to see that institutions tend to be narrowly focused on the task of showing evidence of engagement and impact, rather than thinking about what kind of impact their work might have and what kinds of engagement

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How Emily Wilson Translated ‘The Odyssey’

Odyssey by Homer 700BC trans 2017 by Emily Wilson

Chicago Review of Books

The Odyssey—the ancient Greek epic attributed to Homer—has been translated into English at least 60 times since the seventeenth century. But only one of those translations is by a woman. Her name is Emily Wilson (photo credit: Imogen Roth), and she’s a professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Her brilliant new translation hit shelves in November. In this interview, we discuss how her identity as a woman—and a cis-gendered feminist—informs her translation work, how her Odyssey translation honors both ancient traditions and contemporary reading practices, and what Homer meant when he called Dawn, repeatedly, “rosy-fingered.” This interview has been edited slightly for length.

Odyssey Excerpt

Amy Brady

In your recent review of Barry Powell’s translation of ‘The Poems of Hesiod’ in the New York Review of Books, you critique the translator’s “gender bias.” What does it mean to have a gender bias when translating literature, and how do…

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