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Journal cover: Journal of Organizational Ethnography

Journal of Organizational Ethnography

ISSN: 2046-6749

Online from: 2012

Subject Area: Organization Studies

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The performative institutional embrace


Document Information:
Title:The performative institutional embrace
Author(s):Bob Jeffrey, (Graduate School of Education, Exeter University, Exeter, UK), Geoff Troman, (The Department of Education, University of Roehampton, London, UK)
Citation:Bob Jeffrey, Geoff Troman, (2012) "The performative institutional embrace", Journal of Organizational Ethnography, Vol. 1 Iss: 2, pp.195 - 212
Keywords:Embracing, Ethnography, Institution, Performative regulation, Professional identities, Teachers
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/20466741211248859 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors would like to acknowledge the valuable assistance of our funder, the ESRC (RES-000-23-1281), two assistant researchers, Elena Zezlina Phillips, Andrea Raggl and their consultant Professor Peter Woods.
Abstract:

Purpose – This ESRC-based research article aims to investigate the effects of performativity on primary schools and the teachers therein. It also aims to show how performativity to maintain and improve the school's position in an educational market affects the teacher relations with their institution and how the school works to embrace its teachers in developing the school's market position.

Design/methodology/approach – Four researchers carried out this ESRC (RES-000-23-1281) research, to a greater or lesser extent. The researchers in all of the schools, except City, carried out interview/conversations in the main, with observational field notes accounting for just over 50 per cent of their total data. They then began progressive focusing on City school where the rest of the observational field notes were carried out and in particular the bulk of conversations with young learners. This focus also included the largest group of teacher interview/conversations. This progressive focusing bears the weight of the ethnographic data and the analysis for this article, in line with a grounded theory approach. The whole database included 52 days’ observational field notes, 54 recorded conversations with teachers and other significant adults, and 32 recorded conversations with learners. All recorded conversations with management, teachers, pupils and parents that were seen as being of theoretical significance were transcribed.

Findings – The paper outlines some of the similarities with these institutions, but also shows how this new model differs and how it could be applied to a much wider constituency than the earlier three models – that of the public and private sector. It shows how the embracing performative institution in a marketised environment influences the practices of its teachers and changes to their professional commitment, which focuses more on the institutional development than broader professional values. At the same time it can be seen how supportive professional cultures encourage teachers to embrace the school's performative development and how this influences teacher identity. The findings suggest that institutional members both constitute, and are constituted by, the influence of the embracing institution and performative regulation and that their professional identities are constantly readjusted to ensure their interests coincide with the institutions interests.

Originality/value – This article provides useful formation on how performativity to maintain and improve the school's position in an educational market affects the teacher relations with their institution and how the school works to embrace its teachers in developing the school's market position.



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