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November 2015
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MAW - Management of Academic Workloads

Publications on MAW

Publications on the management of academic workloads from this and earlier projects include journal papers and project reports:

1Barrett L and Barrett P (2008). The Management of Academic Workloads: Full Report. London, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Click here to see

This publication follows case studies from schools within nine higher education institutions and two non knowledge intensive establishments (for comparison purposes) using a grounded theory approach . It looks at their different methods of managing workloads and uses coding, cognitive mapping techniques  and cross -case analysis to build, from interview data, a model for work load allocation drawing from good practice seen. Conclusions cover areas of university policy and methods for allocating work in the different contexts seen.


2 Barrett P and Barrett L (2007). The Management of Academic Workloads. Summary Report. Research and Development Series. London, The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Click here to see

This report summarises the work of the larger study, but excludes the case study material and focuses on the cross case analysis. It shows the significant relationships involved within workload allocation overall and gives a view of these for example for a head of school. It covers issues of transaprency , equity consultation,  the degree of importance of the size of academic schools and the discipline involved related to the chosen method of allocating work. Further it develops a broad classification of the methods used and discusses their relative advantages and disadvantages and relates them to particular contextual factors.


3 Barrett L and Barrett P (2007b). “Current Practice in the Allocation of Academic Workloads.” Higher Education Quarterly 61 (4):461-478.

A  journal paper summarising practices of workload allocation.


4 Barrett P and Barrett L (2009a). The Management of Academic Workloads: Improving Practice in the Sector. Research and Development Series, Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. Click here to see

This work covers findings from the first phase of a project involving up to twelve university partners from across the UK. The work draws from their different experiences and contexts to build a picture of current practice  and gives practical advice on particular issues. It shows the range of instituional approaches to MAW and includes advice on  policy level and  frameworks  that support the implementation of this policy across an HEI or even within a school. The report discusses how the development of systems involves a movement between social aspects of consultation and negotiation, and the technical aspects of developing models that can collect data. The focus throughout is on improving the equitable spread of loads, helping transparency of process and the overall aim of helping to use human resources more effectively.It then goes on to show how it amy help to inform other university process such for Health and Safety  and Equality issues.


5 Barrett L and Barrett P (2010). Cycles of Innovation in Managing Academic Workloads. Higher Education Quarterly. 64 (2) : 

This paper available from the journal above discuses two case studies over a period of over ten years . Both institutions have a university wide system in operation to collect data, with a high degree of consistency of process, this is quite unusual in the sector but appears to be something many HEIs are looking at developing. The study illustrates how despite  their diffferent contexts and contractual basis the development in both of their systems for workload allocation cycled through similar patterns of social and technical stages in each.

6  Barrett L and Barrett P (2010)Women and Academic Workloads: Career Slow Lane or Cul-de- Sac?. Accpted for publication by the journal  Higher Education.

This paper which will be published later this year looks at how workloads may be a factor in the issue of inequalities for women in HE. This builds from statistics that show how fewer women are getting to senior roles when compared to men. It argues that workloads may be a factor in this, covering areas such as lack of work diversity that concentrates work in one area such as teaching or research, a practice which may be exacerbated by part time working. It gives recommendations for practice.