Managing Curriculum Change from the Middle: How Academic Middle Managers Enact Their Role in Higher Education

Norman Rudhumbu


Literature shows that the role of academic middle managers (AMMs) has been a subject of contestation for a long time the world over owing to the fact that there has not been a clear cut articulation of what exactly this role constitutes or means. Such a situation according to literature has tended to affect the way the AMMs enact their role in their different departments and organisations. Traditionally, the role of the academic middle manager has been viewed as transmitters of top management views to the lower echelons of the organisation. This view has however greatly changed over the last couple of decades owing to the realization that academic middle managers play a critical role in both educational change and curriculum change and it is the later view that this paper seeks to explore and highlight. More specifically, this study examines the concept of role as understood by the academic middle managers (AMMs) and also as shaped by the different contexts in which the AMMs perform their curriculum change roles in higher education. Literature shows that the way the AMMs understand and hence enact their role in curriculum change is framed by the nature of the activity, role expectation, role conflict and the demands of the role sender among others. This study therefore examines how AMMs understand and eventually enact their role in the light of different competing demands and interests during curriculum change in higher education.


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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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