SCOS Update June 2021

Dear All,

June 2021

SCOS 2021

Less than a month till our very own SCOS Conference, 5-6 July:

You can also find information about the conference on the SCOS Facebook page:

It should be a very wonderful conference (okay, maybe not quite as wonderful as meeting face-to-face, but as good as we can possibly make it and also FREE!). See you all there.

Two announcements from Harriet Shortt:

1.      Our Special Issue for Culture and Organization: ‘Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home’ has a deadline extension! The deadline is now 31.01.2022, so those of you interested in submitting a paper will have a bit more time ( – we would love to hear from you! 

2.      We will also be convening a stream at the upcoming Critical Management Studies conference devoted specifically to the topic of this call for papers – Flexible lives: spatial, temporal, and behavioural boundaries in a fluid world of work and home (stream 4): . It will be an open call, so you can still submit a paper to the Special Issue by January 2022 deadline even without participating in a conference, but we would like to treat this stream as a way to help develop papers towards the submission.  The conference will take place (technically speaking) in New Delhi, India, but for practical reasons it will be an online only event. Date: 16-18 December 2021. Deadline for submissions of 1000 word abstracts: 1.07.2021. If you would like to participate, please submit to or We will encourage developing all accepted abstracts into full papers by the end of November 2021, so that they can be shared internally within the stream (if the authors agree) and discussed during the conference.

And a very interesting webinar I’m involved in organising:

Performing Management or Managing Performance in Higher Education

Centre for Leadership Innovation Webinar: 21 June 2pm-3:30pm (UK time)

Join Zoom Meeting:

The unintended outcomes of performance management systems: Gaming in British universities

Btissam Aboubichr

Performance management systems are pervasive in contemporary organisations but their specific impact on employees is unclear. This presentation examines the unintended outcomes of performance management systems in British universities. Drawing on data collected from 65 semi-structured interviews in 13 research intensive universities in the UK rated in the top quartile in the REF 2014, the presentation presents a typology of gaming and examines how the performance management practices implemented in universities can incentivise academics to engage in gaming.

Performance and practice in higher education: an ethnomethodological study
of everyday academic work.

Caroline Bolam

It is widely accepted that Higher Education (HE) has gone through significant changes within the last sixty years. The effects of such phenomena as managerialism, marketization and performativity are well documented in the literature (Deem et al 2007, Molesworth et al 2011, Hussey and Smith 2010, Bell et al 2009).  Often, such terms are introduced and accepted as truth without fully exploring what such phenomena really mean to the members of that community. This research uses ethnomethodology, a method of inquiry which concentrates on the members’ methods to understand how they make meaning of their work environment through their daily practices.  This research applies a documentary approach to lecturing, to see it as a document of accomplishment. It also draws on the method of conversation analysis (CA) and examines discussions with academic members of two post 1992 universities, which are seen to be the most affected by the neoliberal phenomena mentioned.  This is to understand how they accomplish their performance of being an academic. Evidence from this research shows that performativity (Lyotard 1984) causes misunderstandings of purpose, and marketized approaches have increased assymetries in student-academic interactions.


Btissam Aboubichr is a Lecturer in Human Resource Management at the School of Marketing and Management at Coventry University. Her research interests are in the area of organisational behaviour, human resource management, employee well-being and the management of higher education. She is particularly interested in the critical analysis of the way human resource management practices can act as a catalyst for unethical behaviour at work. Overall, the aim of her research is to promote ethical and responsible approaches to management and organisational practices. Btissam is an academic member of the CIPD and acts as a committee member for the CIPD Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes branch.

Caroline Bolam has worked at the University of Westminster since 2013 after starting lecturing in 2009.  Prior to doing academic work she gained considerable experience working in Human Resource Management in both the public and private sector, building up expertise in resourcing, employee relations and also learning and development. She is a full member of the CIPD (Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development). Caroline completed her PhD in 2019.  Her research interests are in studying the role of social interaction in the workplace, with a special interest in how this shapes educational settings.