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Critical learning and tempered radicalism: An exploration of the roles and development of early career academics

Robinson, Sarah; Bristow, Alexandra; Ratle, Olivier

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Sarah Robinson

Alexandra Bristow


Drawing on a study of 30 CMS Early Career Academics (ECAs) this paper explores how they learn to practice according to their own CMS motivations and maintain such endeavours within environments and evaluation systems which increasingly require high levels of conformity to mainstream managerialist thinking and practice. Applying a Bourdieusian lens to this issue, we focus on the tensions of co-existing between two positions (field and subfield) and explore practices which develop a habitus suited to functioning well in such conditions. The concept of tempered radicalism is used to identify practices and five new strategies which, we argue, constitute a critical habitus of CMS ECAs: recognising the bottom line, finding balance, political savviness, strategic networking and critical friendship, and critical reflexivity. The paper concludes by discussing how support systems might be necessary to ensure the development and growth of the incoming CMS community at a time when it faces increasingly uncertain working conditions and against a backdrop of a growing homogenisation of academic practice within business and management schools.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name 75th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2015
Start Date Aug 7, 2015
End Date Aug 11, 2015
Acceptance Date Jul 1, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Jan 26, 2016
Publicly Available Date Sep 19, 2016
Journal Academy of Management Proceedings
Print ISSN 0065-0668
Publisher Academy of Management
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2015
Pages 1522-1527
Keywords critical learning, early career academics, ECAs
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Originally published in Academy of Management Proceedings available at
Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : 2015 AOM Meeting
Contract Date Sep 19, 2016


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