Academic arrhythmia: disruption, dissonance and conflict in the early-career rhythms of CMS academics

Bristow, A., Robinson, S. and Ratle, O. (2019) Academic arrhythmia: disruption, dissonance and conflict in the early-career rhythms of CMS academics. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 18(2), pp. 241-260. (doi: 10.5465/amle.2017.0340)

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Starting a career on the margins of the neoliberal business school is becoming increasingly challenging. We contribute to the understanding of the problems involved and to potential solutions by developing a theoretically informed approach to the rhythms of academic life and drawing on interviews with 32 critical management studies (CMS) early-career academics (ECAs) in 14 countries. Bringing together Lefebvre’s rhythmanalysis (and his concepts of polyrhythmia, eurhythmia, and arrhythmia); Zerubavel’s sociology of time; and identity construction literature, we examine the rhythm-identity implications of the recent higher education changes. We show how the dynamics between the broader pressures, institutional strategies, and our interviewees’ attempts to reassert themselves are creating a vicious circle of arrhythmia: a debilitating condition characterized by rhythmic disruption, dissonance, and conflict. Within the circle, identity insecurity and regulation, CMS ECAs’ identity work, and arrhythmia are mutually co-constructive, so that it is hard for individuals to break out. We consider the possibilities and limitations of individual coping strategies, and drawing out lessons for business schools, advocate for more collective and structural solutions. In so doing, we contribute to the reimagining of business schools as more eurhythmically polyrhythmic places where ECAs of all intellectual orientations have the time to learn and develop.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Robinson, Professor Sarah
Authors: Bristow, A., Robinson, S., and Ratle, O.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Academy of Management Learning and Education
Publisher:Academy of Management
ISSN (Online):1944-9585
Published Online:08 July 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Academy of Management Learning and Education
First Published:First published in Academy of Management Learning and Education 18(2): 241-260
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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