Performativity, work-related emotions and collective research identities in UK university education departments: an exploratory study

Michael Wilson, Christopher Holligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)


The paper reports the findings of an investigation into academic staff perceptions of a rapidly changing research work environment in UK university education departments. The study sheds light on the emotional landscape of an environment shaped by performance-driven change. Based on an integrated triplex framework of analysis, the study addresses the complex interrelationship between performativity, work-related emotions and collective research identities. The findings highlight concerns about the emotional impact of work intensification and barriers to collective research identities. However, there is also evidence of strong motivation and a performativity that is internally and intrinsically driven. The implications for research leaders are considered, both in terms of leadership strategy and the leadership of staff in building vibrant research cultures at a time of major change in the sector in response to global challenges and opportunities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-241
JournalCambridge Journal of Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • university education departments
  • performativity
  • work-related emotions
  • collective research identities
  • research cultures
  • research capacity building
  • research leadership

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