Winkler in the HR Works

Tim Winkler reports on new ideas to keep HR ticking over

Virtual morning teas? Zoom Banter? An invitation to a staff meeting?

What does collegiality really mean in the contemporary HE workplace?


For centuries, collegiality has been critical to the development of ideas and the culture of universities.

While difficult to precisely define, the motivation, relationships and achievements of academic staff have frequently been linked to connection with peers.

UTS’s Dr Giedre Kligyte has written a paper examining how remote working, a large proportion of casual staff and corporate management approaches have impacted on the nature of collegiality.

Drawing on interviews with academic staff, Kligyte found not one big happy family, but rather that existing current approaches to collegiality effectively excluded some staff. For example some casual staff felt unable to speak up without jeopardising their employment.

Workplace conventions also resulted in a perceived requirement of acting and thinking in similar ways to colleagues, which could stifle diversity and individuality.

Kligyte’s paper suggests that casuals could be excluded from full participation in the academy not only due to the precarious nature of their employment, but also because of the prevailing collective expectations and perspectives of those in more powerful roles. The paper indicates that alternative models of collegiality could encourage  diversity of thought and effort, with the potential to unlock better research outcomes.

In a sector devoted to inspiration and discovery, the paper is a useful reminder of the many options available to enhance academic productivity – moving away from work cultures that trend toward groupthink and an intellectual monoculture dominated by the powerful and/or loud to a richer and broader level of thinking in the workplace.

 Winkler on the HR works runs regularly at the new HEJobs  recruitment site