Be Positive, Stay Calm, Appear Neutral: University Department Chairs' Emotional Labour

  • Author / Creator
    Cowley, Summer J
  • Despite the widely acknowledged importance of university leadership, North American universities are facing a scarcity of senior faculty able or willing to take on leadership positions, including department chairships (Luna, 2012; Appadurai, 2009; Gmelch & Miskin, 2011). While professors often feel motivated or obligated to act as chair, many find the position to be stressful or unpleasant, and only stay in the role for a short period due to job dissatisfaction (Gmelch & Miskin, 2011; Gmelch, 2016; Sarros, M. Wolverton, Gmelch, & M.L. Wolverton, 1999). Although stressors affecting chairs have been studied (Gmelch & Chan, 1995; Lees, 2016; Wilson, 1999), the body of literature on higher education lacks information regarding chairs’ self-management of emotional responses to these stressors, a process herein referred to as emotional labour (Hochschild, 1983). In this case study, I asked: “In what ways do department chairs perform emotional labour at work?” By considering the emotional labour of department chairs as a matter of effective socialization into a university department, this project allows us to consider professional development as more than a simple nurturing of skills. Findings from this study may enable post-secondary senior administrators to improve chair training and professional development by providing further knowledge about the nature of emotional labour in chairship. This knowledge may enable institutions and administrators to give chairs the support they need to succeed in, and be satisfied with, their roles.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2017
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Education
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.