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Neglected on the front line: Tensions and challenges for the first-line manager-academic role in UK business schools.

Lookup NU author(s): Ceridwyn Bessant, Professor Sharon MavinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Purpose - to investigate the first-line manager-academic role against a guiding hypothesis that ‘The first-line manager-academic role is not clearly defined or understood; there is great variety of practice and of recognition of the role across the business school sector’. Methodology - a descriptive, deductive approach through three linked (internet) surveys of Deans of UK Business Schools, FLMAs in UK Business Schools and UK University Human Resource Directors. Findings – The FLMA role in UK Business Schools is important to organizational effectiveness, personal development and career progression yet is poorly defined and supported, inconsistently enacted and perceived. FLMAs struggle to balance academic and management demands, with line management a particular issue and HR support and development systems are inadequate. Differences between chartered ‘old’ and statutory ‘new’ UK universities provide an additional layer of complexity. Implications for practice – FLMA roles need to be better defined and FLMAs better supported to ensure that FLMAs are effective in role contributing to organizational performance and personal development. Originality/value – The paper throws light on a neglected aspect of management in UK business schools that has potential value for University HR Directors, University Managers and Business School Deans. Keywords First-line manager-academics (FLMA), HRDs, Deans, Business Schools Paper type Research paper

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bessant C, Mavin S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Management Development

Year: 2016

Volume: 35

Issue: 7

Pages: 916-929

Online publication date: 01/09/2016

Acceptance date: 23/05/2015

Date deposited: 09/09/2017

ISSN (print): 0262-1711

ISSN (electronic): 1758-7492

Publisher: Emerald


DOI: 10.1108/JMD-09-2014-0105


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