Stop the bus I want to get off: Academics coping in a time of uncertainty

Publication Date



During periods of radical organisational change, individuals are confronted with a multitude of new experiences and stresses that impact in varying degrees on their personal and professional lives. The manner in which individuals perceive, define and experience these changes will vary according to a number of factors, including the effectiveness of the strategies chosen to cope with such change.

Quantitative methodologies used in studying coping strategies suffer from a number of deficiencies. Qualitative research approaches show promise and form the basis of this study of the differing approaches utilised by academics to manage and cope with their changing work environment during a period of substantial change. This paper argues that coping is a dynamic process, in which academics are constantly engaged in defining and redefining their environments in order to make sound decisions and take appropriate action. To illustrate this process, the metaphor of the bus journey is used to highlight academics' responses to an ever-changing landscape. There is little doubt the strategies utilised will produce differing outcomes, and the long-term success of these strategies will be partly dependent on the relationship they have to the overall goals and the direction of the organisation.


School of Education

Document Type

Conference Paper

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ERA Access