Lisbon, June 26-28, 2019
This version: May 4, 2020
The presidential activities at EURAM annual conference constitute a forum in which, at the invitation of EURAM president, the presidents (or their representatives) of other national and supra-national associations of management gather to discuss issues of importance to the field of management education, research and/or practice.
This document summarizes the discussions among the attendees representing different scholarly associations across the world during the 2019 EURAM presidential activities on the state of the faculty career management on Thursday June 27 (Appendix 1 below provides the list of associations and their representatives), which took place after the answers to the key short survey questions from the perspective of each association were presented (see Appendix 2 in a separate document for the answers provided to the survey, organized by question).
The survey revealed a substantial consensus on the following seven challenges for management faculty across the globe:
1. increasing pressure on journal publication
2. greater specialization and/or even sub-specialization within disciplines
3. more pressure to secure external funding for research activity
4. challenges of maintaining a high calibre of scholarship
5. marginalization of scholars from ‘poorer’ schools and countries
6. legitimacy challenge: need to address societal relevance
7. technological challenge: need to deal with digitalization and e-learning (ed-techs, disruption of existing universities)
These seven challenges were presented to the participants at the beginning of the session. The rest of this document aims to accurately reflect the content of the discussions: it contains the diagnosis points of the current situation that participants discussed before trying to identify possible solutions. The summary is structured by diagnosis point, so that the solution/s proposed for each one are discussed right after, to facilitate the reading.
A- Increasing complexity (multiple dimensions and geographical experience) and ensuing stress (see also point B below). Faculty are not only expected to teach a substantial number and variety of courses (undergraduate and graduate but also executive education), but they are also evaluated, promoted or fired on the basis of publishing in scientific journals. In addition, faculty members are increasingly expected to obtain internal and external funds in order to undertake their research through applications to different funding bodies, which might challenge also research independence. All these tasks – as well as developing teaching materials and adapting to new information and communication technologies, advising graduate and PhD students, program or unit management and attending and presenting in academic and non-academic conferences – put a rising and very strong pressure on faculty time, leading in many instances to high and constant levels of stress, with the attendant challenge to work/life balance. Faculty are also increasingly expected to have international experience, despite that there might still be some national bias in recruitment and/or promotion.
1. Provide greater formal and informal coaching and developmental support at school and university-wide levels, such as workshops on specific competences (like teaching, and dealing with teaching evaluations) and mentoring programs, in addition to the increasing efforts made by the field’s scientific associations.
2. Formally acknowledge in faculty workloads the actual time devoted to and the results obtained in organizational and professional service, providing teaching releases or semester sabbaticals to compensate for the efforts and results, and rewarding outstanding organizational service with awards.
3. Clarify and (re)balance expectations as not every faculty might excel and/or be motivated to excel in all dimensions and thus build on each faculty member’s distinctive competences and preferences, which might evolve over time.
4. Build an organizational culture which respects and rewards excellent contributions in the different possible activities carried out by faculty (teaching, teaching materials’ development and innovation, program development, research, research diffusion, program and unit management,…).
B- Longer contractual temporality world-wide. The rising adoption across the world of the tenure system predominantly based on article publications (which are in turn based on citations) – the fourth point raised in the summary of the 2018 PA available on EURAM website – is leading to an increase in the number and proportion of temporary contracts through both post doc positions before obtaining tenure in ‘successful’ cases and adjunct positions for those faculty members who don’t obtain tenure or decide to devote themselves more to teaching (or educational program management) rather than to research. The creation and pursuit of postdoc positions – which are on average 3 years’ positions prior to applying for tenure track positions – are rapidly augmenting, reflecting the increasing expectations in terms of scientific publications for a tenure-track position. The probability for people fresh out their PhD program of obtaining a tenure track position (right after) is decreasing. Having to take on a postdoc before a tenure track position prolongs the period in which faculty have a temporary contract from 6 to 9 years on average, in case of success for the first tenure-track position, which is also increasingly unlikely. In case of denied tenure in the first tenure-track position, this might entail around 14 years of temporary contract after the PhD. Even though postdoc positions are supposed to allow people to focus on research (building their publication pipeline), most incumbents are also expected to teach some to get teaching experience and be more employable in a tenure-track position which requires teaching. Moreover, colleagues who do not aim or obtain a tenured position tend not to be included in departmental and university-wide decision-making.
Proposal 5: encourage the development of a collective agreement among universities within and across countries (through the respective bodies of university presidents/rectors) to limit the raise in expectations on entry-level publications so the meaningfulness of the sequence of PhD student-assistant-associate professor in terms of reasonable scholarly expectations is preserved.
C- A changing career notion. As a consequence of the prior point, the notion or perception of what a management faculty career represents is moving from aiming at and exercising a tenure position to a diversity of profiles, in which the key becomes accumulating different valuable, meaningful experiences. That said, junior colleagues still desire enough financial revenues and certain employment stability after a reasonable (in terms of length and expectations) probationary period. Further, the temporalization or ‘precarization’ of academic work seems to generate the unintended consequence 3 of encouraging younger colleagues to focus on improving their publication record to increase their employability chances rather than on becoming embedded in their organization, despite the fact that their publication record also benefits their organization for their ranking and prestige. Taking managerial responsibilities within the organization seems to come at the cost of significantly reducing research activity.
6. Reflect about the consequences of the career path which seems to emerge and the role of deans in career management
7. Help younger colleagues to reflect about the consequences of different trajectories depending on their goals, as well as on their efforts at building a certain reputation
retired colleagues who are fit for and want to remain active the
necessary conditions to coach younger colleagues by sharing their talent
D- Reduced attractiveness of the profession. Given points A and B above, it seemed to participants that becoming a management faculty is becoming less attractive to new generations, which not only realize the traditional (economic) opportunity costs of a PhD (an increasingly necessary condition to become faculty, even as an adjunct faculty or course instructor) but also the greater challenges after it. This is a critical issue which requires immediate action.
9. Inform students in undergraduate programs (as well as in master programs) about an academic career (in management)
10. Require some organizational experience (could be in associations also) from applicants to PhD programs, so that they can relate the academic readings to it and address the organizational relevance of scientific research
11. Provide opportunities to PhD students to be exposed to organizations other than the university, such as through PhD projects funded by a corporation or another kind of organization such as an association, foundation or public agency, requiring to work on organizational problems
12. Visualize in the advertisement and recruitment activities for the PhD that different valid options after a PhD such as consultancy and ‘industry’ can be envisioned in addition to or in combination with academic activities
13. Articulate the training during the PhD so that the different options mentioned in proposal 12 are possible
14. Promote a European-based certification of PhD programs to guarantee the preservation of scholarship as well as the implication of PhD students with different kinds of organizational life, to develop a taste for managerial, organizational and societal relevance
Attendees agreed that a summary of these activities would be circulated among them for approval/verification, and could later lead to a joint declaration or their adhesion to a EURAM declaration.