Self-care and entrepreneurism: An ethnography of soft skills development for higher education staff

Fixsen, Alison, Cranfield, S. and Ridge, Damien T. 2018. Self-care and entrepreneurism: An ethnography of soft skills development for higher education staff. Studies in Continuing Education. 40 (2), pp. 181-197.

TitleSelf-care and entrepreneurism: An ethnography of soft skills development for higher education staff
AuthorsFixsen, Alison, Cranfield, S. and Ridge, Damien T.
Abstract

Despite the ubiquity of staff soft skills programmes, few studies have examined why and how academic and corporate services staff utilise these programmes for self-care/governance. This study reports on findings from an ethnography of soft-skills learning and development programmes (LDPs) in a UK university, focusing on interviews with programme participants and facilitators. Results suggest that, as social worlds with neoliberal directives, LDPs promote various self-governance activities in the form of entrepreneurism and novel, corporate versions of self-care. Time on LDPs was seen as a chance to, ‘put oneself first,’ examine career options and cultivate sought-after attributes, including self-confidence and assertiveness. Social networking and performance management also emerged as significant issues. Career development was important for all participants; however, perceptions of how to realise this differed. Based on our findings, we propose three types of work-related performance – ‘career nomad,’ ‘reluctant entrepreneur,’ and ‘course hopper’ – constituting a typology for understanding social worlds inhabited by contemporary university professionals. Our study suggests that self-care ‘technologies’ have multiple, competing functions in continuing professional education. While LDPs can help professionals navigate paths through increasingly turbulent organisations, their entrepreneurial ethos and content reflect the market interests they serve.

Keywordssoft skills, continuing professional development, ethnography, informal learning
JournalStudies in Continuing Education
Journal citation40 (2), pp. 181-197
ISSN0158-037X
Year2018
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/0158037X.2017.1418308
Publication dates
Published in print2018
Published online29 Dec 2017
Published29 Dec 2017

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Ridge, Damien T. 2004. Social determinants of mental health for young same-sex attracted men. in: Keleher, H. and Murphy, B. (ed.) Understanding health: a determinants approach Oxford Oxford University Press.

Book review: The new public health (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press
Ridge, Damien T. 2004. Book review: The new public health (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press. Australian Journal of Primary Health. 10.

Leading from the front may mean asking questions, not issuing instructions: how can leadership research convert to a Masters degree?
Marsh, S., Dolan, T., Cameron, M., Cranfield, S., Stone, J., Stevens, R. and Craven, N. 2003. Leading from the front may mean asking questions, not issuing instructions: how can leadership research convert to a Masters degree? 2nd International Conference on Leadership Research. University of Lancaster Management School 15th - 16th December 2003

"Most useful": a rapid qualitative approach to mapping young peoples issues and programs in Vietnam
Ridge, Damien T. 2003. "Most useful": a rapid qualitative approach to mapping young peoples issues and programs in Vietnam. Development Bulletin. 62, pp. 70-74.

Being there: how teachers of students facing adversity promote positive relationships
Ridge, Damien T., Sheehan, M., Marshall, B., Maher, S. and Carlisle, R. 2003. Being there: how teachers of students facing adversity promote positive relationships. Qualitative Research Journal. 3 (2), pp. 5-21.

The health of young gays and lesbians
Ridge, Damien T. 2003. The health of young gays and lesbians. in: Liamputtong, P. and Gardner, H. (ed.) Health, social change & communities Melbourne Oxford University Press.

The construction of the adolescent male body through sports
Ricciardelli, L.A., McCabe, M.P. and Ridge, Damien T. 2003. The construction of the adolescent male body through sports. in: Australian Journal of Psychology. Combined abstracts of 2003 Australian Psychological Conferences Australia Australian Psychological Society Ltd.. pp. 207

Getting on against the odds: how black and ethnic minority nurses can progress into leadership
Cranfield, S. 2002. Getting on against the odds: how black and ethnic minority nurses can progress into leadership. London Department of Health.

Finding a place for health in the schooling process: a challenge for education
Ridge, Damien T., Northfield, J., St Leger, L., Marshall, B., Sheehan, M. and Maher, S. 2002. Finding a place for health in the schooling process: a challenge for education. Australian Journal of Education. 46 (1), pp. 19-33.

Report of a study on the uptake and use of the 'Managing Change in the NHS' publications
Cranfield, S. and Paxton, H. 2002. Report of a study on the uptake and use of the 'Managing Change in the NHS' publications. London NCCSDO.

School health polices and practices in Victoria – a comparison involving socio-economic status and school geographical location
St Leger, L., Maher, S., Ridge, Damien T., Marshall, B., Sheehan, M. and Gibbons, C. 2002. School health polices and practices in Victoria – a comparison involving socio-economic status and school geographical location. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 13 (3), pp. 201-204.

'This was a great project!': Reflections on a mental health promotion project in a remote indigenous school
Sheehan, M., Ridge, Damien T. and Marshall, B. 2002. 'This was a great project!': Reflections on a mental health promotion project in a remote indigenous school. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 13 (3), pp. 201-204.

The value of asthma camps for young people in Victoria, Australia
Lord, A., St Leger, L., Ridge, Damien T. and Elisha, D. 2001. The value of asthma camps for young people in Victoria, Australia. Contemporary Nurse. 11 (2-3), pp. 133-141.

"I will start treatment when I think the time is right": HIV-positive gay men talk about their decision not to access antiretroviral therapy
Gold, R.S. and Ridge, Damien T. 2001. "I will start treatment when I think the time is right": HIV-positive gay men talk about their decision not to access antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Care. 13 (6), pp. 693-708.

Making informed decisions on change: key points for health care managers and professionals
Cameron, M., Cranfield, S., Iles, V. and Stone, J. 2001. Making informed decisions on change: key points for health care managers and professionals. London NCCSDO.

"You become really close... you talk about the silly things you did, and we laugh": the role of binge drinking in female secondary students' lives
Sheehan, M. and Ridge, Damien T. 2001. "You become really close... you talk about the silly things you did, and we laugh": the role of binge drinking in female secondary students' lives. Substance Use & Misuse. 36 (3), pp. 347-372.

Erasing the margins: youth marginalisation round table (YMaRT), building relationships and youth directed initiatives: a report from the round table
Ridge, Damien T. 2001. Erasing the margins: youth marginalisation round table (YMaRT), building relationships and youth directed initiatives: a report from the round table. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 12 (3), pp. 196-198.

Building relations and youth directed initiatives in research and services
Ridge, Damien T. 2001. Building relations and youth directed initiatives in research and services. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 12 (3), pp. 6-8.

Jump rope for heart: evaluating a cardiovascular health programme for primary school students
Thistlewaite, K., St Leger, L., Ridge, Damien T. and Maher, S. 2000. Jump rope for heart: evaluating a cardiovascular health programme for primary school students. ACHPER Austalia Healthy Lifestyles Journal. 47 (2), pp. 5-8.

"Asian" men on the scene: challenges to "gay communities"
Ridge, Damien T., Hee, A. and Minichiello, V. 1999. "Asian" men on the scene: challenges to "gay communities". Journal of Homosexuality. 36 (3/4), pp. 43-68.

Being 'real' in suicide prevention evaluation: the role of the ethnographer's emotions under traumatic conditions
Ridge, Damien T., Hee, A. and Aroni, R. 1999. Being 'real' in suicide prevention evaluation: the role of the ethnographer's emotions under traumatic conditions. Australian Journal of Primary Health. 5 (3), pp. 21-31.

Asian men on the scene: challenges to 'gay communities'
Ridge, Damien T., Hee, A. and Minichiello, V. 1998. Asian men on the scene: challenges to 'gay communities'. in: Jackson, P.A. and Sullivan, G. (ed.) Multicultural queer: Australian narratives New York Haworth Press.

From pharmaceuticals to alternative treatments for HIV/AIDS: what is the potential?
Ridge, Damien T. and Arachne, J. 1997. From pharmaceuticals to alternative treatments for HIV/AIDS: what is the potential? Health Care Analysis. 5 (4), pp. 275-282.

Queer connections: community, the scene and an epidemic
Ridge, Damien T., Minichiello, V. and Plummer, D. 1997. Queer connections: community, the scene and an epidemic. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 26 (23), pp. 146-181.

Risk behaviours and health care needs of drug-using female prostitutes (part II)
Faugier, J., Cranfield, S. and Sargeant, M. 1997. Risk behaviours and health care needs of drug-using female prostitutes (part II). Journal of Substance Use. 2 (4), pp. 203-209.

Risk behaviours and health care needs of drug-using female prostitutes (part I)
Faugier, J., Cranfield, S. and Sargeant, M. 1997. Risk behaviours and health care needs of drug-using female prostitutes (part I). Journal of Substance Use. 2 (3), pp. 144-149.

Religiosity, sexual behaviour and safe sex practices: further evidence
Minichiello, V., Paxton, S., Cowling, V., Cross, G., Savage, J. and Ridge, Damien T. 1996. Religiosity, sexual behaviour and safe sex practices: further evidence. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 20 (3), pp. 321-323.

Negotiated safety: not negotiable or safe?
Ridge, Damien T. 1996. Negotiated safety: not negotiable or safe? Venereology. 9 (2), pp. 98-100.

Reducing inequality of access and care provision for people affected by HIV/AIDS
Cranfield, S. 1996. Reducing inequality of access and care provision for people affected by HIV/AIDS. in: Faugier, J. and Hicken, I. (ed.) AIDS and HIV: the nursing response London Chapman & Hall. pp. 163-179

Reaching male clients of female prostitutes: the challenge for HIV prevention
Faugier, J. and Cranfield, S. 1995. Reaching male clients of female prostitutes: the challenge for HIV prevention. AIDS Care: Psychological and Socio-medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV. 7 (1), pp. 21-32.

Knowledge and practice of sexual safety in Melbourne gay men in the nineties
Ridge, Damien T., Plummer, D. and Minichiello, V. 1994. Knowledge and practice of sexual safety in Melbourne gay men in the nineties. Australian Journal of Public Health. 18 (3), pp. 319-325.

Young gay men and HIV: running the risk?
Ridge, Damien T., Plummer, D. and Minichiello, V. 1994. Young gay men and HIV: running the risk? AIDS Care. 6 (4), pp. 371-378.

HIV and drugs services: the challenge of change
Cranfield, S., Feinmann, C., Ferlie, E. and Walter, C. 1994. HIV and drugs services: the challenge of change. in: Strang, J. and Gossop, M. (ed.) Heroin addiction and drug policy: the British system Oxford Oxford University Press. pp. 322-330

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