• Teresa Rousing Oberländer
  • Hanne Hvass Kjeldgaard
4. semester, Læring og Forandringsprocesser, Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to shed light upon the mental working environment at universities, as experienced by knowledge workers in research and teaching positions.
Methodology: In order to understand the mental working environment, this focus has been on working identities among knowledge workers at Aalborg University in Copenhagen. The case study consists of interviews of 8 knowledge workers. The interviews are investigated, using an analytic approach inspired by the French Philosopher, Michel Foucault.
Findings: The case study shows a working environment among the knowledge workers as characterized by performance toward one another, a nervous tone towards leaders and a general understanding that it is impossible to change structures. The knowledge workers mainly shape their identity to match an ideal researcher type which we have called The Real Researcher. AAU manages their knowledge workers by a neoliberal mode of management, defined among others by Dean Mitchell as Governmentality. We find that this type of management, in this particular institution, creates an individual handling of work load, mental break downs and of unclear requirements. This individual handling prevents the researchers from pointing out the working environment as problematic. Every proclaimer of problems is in this system perceived by himself, his colleagues and leaders as a person, who is not capable of being a Real Researcher.
Originality/Value: In a macro perspective one can note a certain resemblance to social trends in our current society; hereby meaning, social acceleration, and a general tendency to turn criticism inwards. Our micro perspective on this certain group of knowledge workers, university researchers, has nevertheless shown a slightly different perspective than other findings on this subject. This different perspective has turned out to be a contradiction in the researcher’s ongoing process of becoming subject. This conflict can be understood as a contradiction between the researcher’s perception of himself as ‘a seeker of true knowledge’ and the increasing demands on him of showing economic use for his research.
Udgivelsesdato3 aug. 2015
Antal sider118
ID: 216825985