Unveiling faculty conceptions of academic risk taking:a phenomenographic study

Figueira, Catarina, Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas and Caselli, Giorgio (2018). Unveiling faculty conceptions of academic risk taking:a phenomenographic study. Studies in Higher Education, 43 (8), pp. 1307-1320.


Among recent developments in the field of higher education is the emergence of New Public Management and of what has been labelled as ‘risk university’. The aim of this paper is to redress the lack of discussion over the role that risk taking plays in academic practice by exploring what faculty understand academic risk taking to be and how they enact this understanding in their tasks. Drawing on a phenomenographic perspective and semi-structured interviews with 20 faculty members from a high-profile UK university, we find that academic risk taking is experienced in four qualitatively different ways. Our results suggest that although academics engage in relatively similar endeavours, they exhibit various approaches to these endeavours due to their different conceptions of what constitutes academic risk taking. These findings have implications for the literature on identity construction and the debate over how the greater accountability of academic activity is affectively experienced.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2016.1250074
Divisions: Aston Business School
Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in Higher Education on 16/11/16, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2016.1250074
Uncontrolled Keywords: academic risk taking,academic work,identity construction,new public management,phenomenography,risk university,Education
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
http://www.tand ... 79.2016.1250074 (Publisher URL)
Published Online Date: 2016-11-16
Published Date: 2018
Authors: Figueira, Catarina
Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas
Caselli, Giorgio



Version: Accepted Version

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