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Managing Sick Leave in the University: Bureaucracy and Discretion

Managing Sick Leave in the University: Bureaucracy and Discretion This study examined the challenges for supervisors and managers of managing sick leave within a New Zealand university. We used a qualitative research design, interviewing 20 university staff across the academic and service divisions who had managerial roles. We applied Habermas’ distinctions of technical instrumental, practical relational, and emancipatory critical transformative interests, and his twofold distinction of system and lifeworld to our analysis. The primary findings suggest that while the technical instrumental discourses were dominant within the university bureaucracy, managers (particularly front line managers) drew upon practical relational and emancipatory critical transformative discourses to justify the considerable discretion they exercised in managing sick leave. Far from being incidental, these humanistic elements are as much a part of the bureaucracy as the rational elements and are fundamental to the system’s equilibrium. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Humanistic Management Journal Springer Journals

Managing Sick Leave in the University: Bureaucracy and Discretion

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020
ISSN
2366-603X
eISSN
2366-6048
DOI
10.1007/s41463-020-00094-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This study examined the challenges for supervisors and managers of managing sick leave within a New Zealand university. We used a qualitative research design, interviewing 20 university staff across the academic and service divisions who had managerial roles. We applied Habermas’ distinctions of technical instrumental, practical relational, and emancipatory critical transformative interests, and his twofold distinction of system and lifeworld to our analysis. The primary findings suggest that while the technical instrumental discourses were dominant within the university bureaucracy, managers (particularly front line managers) drew upon practical relational and emancipatory critical transformative discourses to justify the considerable discretion they exercised in managing sick leave. Far from being incidental, these humanistic elements are as much a part of the bureaucracy as the rational elements and are fundamental to the system’s equilibrium.

Journal

Humanistic Management JournalSpringer Journals

Published: Aug 4, 2020

Keywords: New Zealand; Habermas; Sick leave; Managers; University; Bureaucracy

References