Professional agency in a university context: Academic freedom and fetters

Katja Vähäsantanen, Susanna Paloniemi, Eija Räikkönen, Päivi Hökkä

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Professional agency is an urgent topic in academic contexts, albeit relatively unexplored, and elaborated with contradictory conclusions on its extent and characteristics. To contribute to the discussion, this multimethod study investigated professional agency within a Finnish university. We utilised questionnaire data and interviews to explore agency, as manifested in influencing at work, developing work practices, and negotiating professional identity. We found that overall, these three dimensions of agency were manifested fairly substantially, and in a similar manner among the academic staff. The study further emphasises the social nature of professional agency, and presents theoretical and empirical considerations for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103000
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Higher education
  • Leaders
  • Multimethod research
  • Professional agency
  • Teachers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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