22 SES 05 D, Academic Work and Professional Development
Transformation of academic work and academic labour market structures are coupled processes (see Musselin, 2011). When considering the drivers of these transformations, the new public management policies (implementation of the market principles into evaluation of academic work and the funding distribution) and the general cost-cutting measures can be mentioned (see for example Henkel, 2000; Krücken, Kosmützky, Torka, 2007). Recent research demonstrates that junior faculty academics are experiencing growing risks of discontinuity of careers, as well as employment insecurity (see Burchardt, Bloch, 2010; Kehm, 2011; Klecha, Reimer, 2008; Bloch et al. 2011; Gülker, 2010). It can be assumed, that the changes in the structures of academic work coordination and its content mean the colliding behavioral logics and shifting incentives for professional development for individuals. At the same time, there is a debate about the implementation of jobs in German universities with teaching assignments only as well as the growing awareness that such jobs would be a “dead end” in terms of the professional development opportunities they offer (Nickel, 2011) and specifically due to the lacking infrastructures for career advancement. Especially criticized are the jobs in teaching during the qualification stage (combined with doing a doctorate). Thus, the question about relative disadvantage on the academic labour market requires investigation. Disadvantage or lack of development on individual level has to be considered both in terms of opportunities and agency (see Alkire, 2005; Sen & Nussbaum, 1987). In the current paper, it will be stressed that in the situation of transformation of higher education, which leads to changing relationship between different components of academic work, the evaluation of individual development should have a stronger focus not only on the available opportunities but also on individual agency. The evaluation of structures vis-a-vis agency can make an important informative basis for policy-making. This paper is a part of the research project, which aims at answering the questions about what characterizes the structural embeddedness of the behavior of academics on academic labour market and what kind of consequences does it have for the development of junior academics who teach? The current paper will have a focus on the second question, stressing specifically the importance of the evaluation of agency of teaching academics in the context of their professional biography. Some empirical findings will be provided.
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