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When FE lecturers go the extra mile: The rhetoric and the reality

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2017
<mark>Journal</mark>Research in Post-Compulsory Education
Issue number2
Number of pages22
Pages (from-to)186-207
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date19/07/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper explores the concept of ‘going the extra mile’ from the perceptions of 30 lecturers and six middle managers working within the further education (FE) sector. Until now, the phenomena of discretionary behaviour has only been researched using a scientific, positivist approach adopting the construct of organisational citizenship behaviour (OCB). Whilst much of the OCB literature pertains to industry, there has recently been a growing interest in exploring the construct within educational settings. Eschewing the dominant positivist approach to the OCB literature, which attempts to establish causal relationships for discretionary behaviour, this article reports on a study which applied the insights of social practice theory to the analysis of discretionary behaviour in FE settings. This article goes on to reveal how conventional, individualistic and rational approaches to behaviour analyses can frequently disguise what is really going on within these complex organisations. What emerged from the study was that ‘discretionary acts’ mean different things to different people in different situations and consequently the OCB construct is too narrow a view of this phenomenon. The study additionally shows that when organisations adopt the individualising narrative of ‘going the extra mile’ they consequently split and divide their workforce into an economy of employee worth which is a crude and unhelpful chopping ‘good’ from ‘bad’.