Managerialism and teacher professional identity: impact on wellbeing among teachers in the UK

B Skinner, Gerard Leavey, Despina Rothi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)
178 Downloads (Pure)


In Europe, wellbeing in the workplace has increasing prominence in the policy and research agenda and education is a key context in which the challenge of occupational stress has been reported. Traditionally, the ethos in school settings could be said to be shaped by the vocational motivation of employees, that is, a commitment to a social benefit through the development, support and improvement of the pupils and this commitment used to override workplace challenges and help teachers deal with stress. This paper argues that teachers’ commitment is being eroded by the impact of bureaucratic changes at management level, such as the setting of performance targets, increased workload, increased accountability and changes in curriculum. This in turn impacts on their professional identity and can negatively affect their mental health and well being. The current paper describes a qualitative study undertaken among 39 teachers and six school leaders across England and Wales in which we sought to understand, through interviews, the contextual workplace experiences of teachers who experienced work-related stress. Policy developments in education and management implementation of these developments and the consequent erosion of teacher autonomy dominated the narratives. We examine how managerialism can relate to a loss of commitment, professional identity, self-confidence and vulnerability to stress, anxiety and depression. This paper proposes that educational reforms, and the rigidly prescribed organisational and management structures that accompany them, need to be weighed against their impacts on professional identity and personal wellbeing
Original languageEnglish
Article numberCEDR 1556205
Number of pages16
JournalEducational Review
Issue number1
Early online date16 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished online - 16 Jan 2019


  • identity
  • leadership/managementhers, stress, commitment
  • teachers
  • stress
  • commitment


Dive into the research topics of 'Managerialism and teacher professional identity: impact on wellbeing among teachers in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this