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Différencier les pairs. Mise en gestion du travail universitaire et encastrement organisationnel des carrières académiques (Royaume-Uni, 1970-2010)

Abstract : This doctoral dissertation deals with the transformation of academic work in British higher education, in a context of rising human resource management and dissemination of "quasimarket" mechanisms following New Public Management policy requests. Taking cues from empirical data gathered in two British universities, the dissertation deploys a mixed-method analysis with a focus on statistical Sequence Analysis, biographical interviews and archival work. The study sheds light on the extensive "organisational work" performed in both universities that has led to the formalisation of professional control and to increased organisational embededdness of individual careers. These new patterns of bureaucratic control over academic work and careers have fostered professional differentiation and gave rise to new forms of functional and contractual flexibility. As an occupational group, academics have nonetheless retained a monopolistic power over key operations, such as peer judgement and faculty selection. Yet, this power is exercised within the limits defined by the institution's employment policy. The bureaucratic regulation of academic careers therefore did not replace, but did reframe, professional self-regulation. These outcomes lead to reconsidering the sociological meaning of professional control. It does not only deal with one's authority over the fulfillment, the division and the evaluation of tasks, but also points to one's capacity to define the economy of work in which these tasks are carried out. A last dimension relates to the way the expansion of universities' personnel services is legitimised by modernising discourses that identify the differentiation of academic staff as major challenge for human resource management. The fact that this differentiation is not an exogenous process but rather a product of bureaucratic control raises questions about the meaning of these discourses. What is at stake then? Managing an increasingly differentiated profession, or differentiating a profession in order to better manage it?
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 2, 2013 - 5:23:38 PM
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Simon Paye. Différencier les pairs. Mise en gestion du travail universitaire et encastrement organisationnel des carrières académiques (Royaume-Uni, 1970-2010). Sociologie. Institut d'études politiques de paris - Sciences Po, 2013. Français. ⟨tel-00819896⟩

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