Developing a contextualised competency framework for further education middle managers in England
Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis
This thesis investigates the role of further education middle manager. The further education sector has experienced and continues to experience significant change. This dynamic environment is challenging for all those who work in this sector. The lack of professional expectations and training impacts the ability for further education middle managers to undertake their role. The lack of extant research into further education management results in a reliance on general management theory leading to generic solutions, which lack contextualisation. This thesis draws upon both further education and management research to synthesise a competency framework for further education middle managers. Using a critical realist, mixed methods approach the framework is tested via two-stage data collection process, which was administered nationally. The first stage uses an e-survey with responses from further education middle managers (N=164). The second stage utilises an electronic Q-sort method, which was completed by human resource managers in further education (N=51). Analysis of the data from each stage demonstrates agreement with the competencies required to fulfil the role. While there is broad agreement between further education middle managers and human resource managers, there are differences based on participant demographics. Variances in male and female responses provide gender insights, which is a key contribution of this thesis augmenting Critical Mass Theory (Kanter, 1977). An important and key contribution to knowledge of the thesis, based on the empirical analysis, is a set of new overarching professional expectations of further education middle managers and the development of a revised competency framework. The framework considers the context, the external working environment, and previous experience of further education middle managers. The significant contribution of the research is that it will assist in the training and professional development of further education middle managers as well as inform the design and implementation of recruitment and selection for future post holders.