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Holding True or Caving in? Academics’ Values, Emotions, and Behaviors in Response to Higher Education Reforms

Antoniadou, Marilena, Quinlan, Kathleen M. (2021) Holding True or Caving in? Academics’ Values, Emotions, and Behaviors in Response to Higher Education Reforms. Higher Education Policy, . ISSN 0952-8733. (doi:10.1057/s41307-021-00225-1) (KAR id:86989)


Higher education (HE) in many countries has been characterized by increased marketization, external accountability and managerialism. This article examines how academics feel about and respond to HE reforms in Cyprus, a country whose HE sector is heavily commercialized and affected by austerity measures. We analyzed interviews with twenty-three Cypriot academics in four universities, who had been working in business schools from three to twenty-nine years. Interviewees described experiences of being an academic in Cyprus, highlighting contextual factors that triggered emotional events in their day-to-day lives. Integrating previous literature, we present six different behavioral responses to the events they described, including compliance, resistance and flight. We explain how academics chose different responses at different times based on their interpretations of value congruence/incongruence, their felt emotions, and the need to comply with emotional display rules. Considering these elements together, highlighted the emotional labor associated with various behavioral responses. The study contributes theoretically by showing how values, perceived emotional demands within particular events, and emotions influence behavior, including different types of emotional labor. We suggest that further research on academics’ responses to HE reforms should focus on particular events and on particular contested academic values, such as autonomy or collegiality.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1057/s41307-021-00225-1
Uncontrolled keywords: emotions; emotional labor; values; faculty; marketization
Subjects: L Education
Divisions: Divisions > Directorate of Education > Centre for the Study of Higher Education
Depositing User: Kathleen Quinlan
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2021 15:15 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2022 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Quinlan, Kathleen M..

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