Changing values? Early retirement and the new universities

Steven Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the potential impact of the recent changes to the Teachers Superannuation Scheme (TSS) and the resulting wave of early retirements, on the nature of academic work and cultures in the ‘new’ universities. In doing so it considers the potential for one externally driven initiative, implemented outside of the control of organisational managers, to have a quite extraordinary effect on workers across a whole occupational sector. It assesses the force of an early retirement programme as a catalyst for increased managerialism, relative to other recent pressures, drawing upon the literatures of organisation culture, strategy and labour process; and utilising new empirical research concerning academic careers, culture, change and security. Findings indicate that academic staff in new universities may be insulated from the effects of managerialism, albeit that this may vary between and within institutions. It speculates on whether the effects of large‐scale early retirement will have an impact on academic cultures through the ‘releasing’ of staff with old values and the ‘buying’ of replacements who have new values. Further, it argues that because the TSS changes affect only the new universities, the resultant changes may differentiate them from the pre‐1992 universities, making at least some of them more similar to the managerially focused further education sector, and reinforcing the binary divide within a supposedly unified university sector
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Further and Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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