Modern Day Challenges in Academia
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Modern Day Challenges in Academia

Time for a Change

Edited by Marilena Antoniadou and Mark Crowder

Examining the modern day challenges faced by academics throughout their working lives, this timely book investigates the ways in which academic careers are changing, the reasons for these changes and their potential future impacts. Contributors with insider experience of both traditional research focussed universities and newer institutions with an emphasis on teaching, utilise theoretical and empirical methods to provide international perspectives on the key issues confronting modern day academics.
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Chapter 13: Caring and coping: an interpretative phenomenological analysis of lecturers’ emotional labour in the context of higher education commercialisation and the consequences for staff and student wellbeing

Sarah-Jane Lennie


This chapter looks at the role of academics’ emotional labour in higher education, in the context of work intensification and a managerialist approach to education delivery. Employing Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to examine the narrative within participant reflective interviews of four academics, this study brings a new perspective to the impact of emotional labour through the analysis of lived experience. Three superordinate themes are identified: paternalistic relationship with students; coping through social support; the need for self-protection. Emotional labour looks at the concepts of surface acting and deep acting and seeks to identify the emotion and display rules of an organisation. Emotional labour is known to lead to stress and burnout, and has more recently been linked to compassion fatigue in nursing. This study has identified the caring role of the academics and how it impacts individual well-being and coping ability, highlighting how academics feel that an over-reliance on governance compromised their ability to truly support students in their emotional well-being and in turn caused significant distress and emotional dissonance. This study seeks to raise awareness as to the impact of emotional labour on both student and academic well-being.

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