A1 Journal article (refereed)
Teachers’ professional agency in a centralisation-decentralisation system and a hierarchical cultural context : the case of Hong Kong (2022)

Lau, J., Vähäsantanen, K., & Collin, K. (2022). Teachers’ professional agency in a centralisation-decentralisation system and a hierarchical cultural context : the case of Hong Kong. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2022.2086606

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Lau, Josephine; Vähäsantanen, Katja; Collin, Kaija

Journal or series: Pedagogy, Culture and Society

ISSN: 1468-1366

eISSN: 1747-5104

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 11/06/2022

Volume: Early online

Publisher: Routledge, Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2022.2086606

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/82091


Teachers are frontline actors in actualising educational innovations. In some contexts, teachers’ professional agency is undervalued. This study investigated teachers’ agency and its related workplace affordances in Hong Kong, which features a centralised-decentralisation education governance system, and a hierarchical work culture. The study was based on 21 semi-structured interviews with teachers, and employed a deductive thematic analysis. Agency enactment was categorised into 1) pedagogical agency within classrooms, and 2) relational agency in the professional community. The factors contributing to workplace affordances were grouped as pertaining to 1) the collegial community, 2) school leadership, 3) access to resources, and 4) availability of time, space, and job stability. Agency-supportive leadership and a favourable collegial environment significantly facilitated teachers’ agentic actions. Teachers did not explicitly resist but implemented emotionally meaningless order in a ‘work-to-rule’ manner. The study contributes to professional agency research as applied to a particular political, regional, and socio-cultural context.

Keywords: teachers; teacherhood; human agency; professional development; working life; know-how; sociocultural factors; work communities; hierarchy

Free keywords: teacher professional agency; centralised-decentralisation system; hierarchical work structure; subject-centred socio-cultural approach; workplace affordances

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:12