Academic Gerrymandering; the Redistricting of Academic Work for Managerial Benefit

[We’re pleased to welcome author, Dr. Kathy Lund Dean of Gustavus Adolphus College. She recently published an article in the Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Academic Gerrymandering? Expansion and Expressions of Academic Work” which is currently free to read for a limited time. Below, Dr. Dean reflects on this article:]

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpoint

I am thrilled that “Academic gerrymandering? Expansion and expressions of academic work” will be published and hope it spurs conversations within the vision of the Generative Curiosity section. The article explores how traditional professors’ jobs are blurring the bright lines between faculty and administrative work. The main concept and title of the article mirror my dismay over the U.S. Supreme Court-level conflicts about electoral district gerrymandering, or how political parties remake electoral district boundaries for their own gains, circumventing fair election processes and citizen voice in favor of getting their candidate into office.

“Blended’ academic roles, or, new faculty roles that combine traditional faculty work with administrative responsibilities, are increasingly common. While some faculty are jobcrafting their work into blended roles—re-defining work responsibilities and creating customized jobs that speak to strengths, interests, passions, and desires to learn new things—others are living out blended roles that are demotivating and draining. In my article, I model how blended academic roles might be experienced—a range from liberating and energizing to exploitative and dispiriting. Where these new work roles fall in the model depends on two factors: faculty agency, or, whether faculty retain real power in selecting work parameters, and institutional instrumentality, or, whether institutions direct faculty energy toward their own agendas and goals. “Academic gerrymandering” is my biggest worry for this new form of work; gerrymandering occurs when institutions actively “redistrict” faculty roles, moving administrative responsibilities that it needs accomplished into a faculty role without commensurately removing other responsibilities, and/or circumventing that faculty member’s needs or input.

The good news is that blended faculty work can be inspiring, challenging, and directed toward learning new skills and testing out new abilities. I call that “positional dexterity,” when faculty have lots of control over their work parameters and the institution helps that faculty member be successful. My inspiration for writing the article came from living out my own blended faculty role, complete with its agency struggles, ambiguous boundaries, political challenges, as well as its opportunity, creativity and energy. I was also inspired to explore these new roles by observing colleagues in blended roles whose experiences have not been positive, and whose institutions have been, in my opinion, quite opportunistic in how administrative work is being parsed out and completed.

I recommend that faculty be alert to how their jobs are changing, and how jobcrafted work can result in synergy between faculty and administrative responsibilities when voice and agency are retained. Taking ownership over job boundaries can mean the difference between gerrymandered work roles and joyful, innovative ones. In my experience, there are many other responses to administrative ‘demands’ than simply saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and faculty may be in a unique position to partner with administration and find roles that fuse both institutional needs with faculty interests. What’s clear, however, is that the need to consider job ‘districting’ in new ways is getting much more important than ever before.

Stay up-to-date with the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry and sign up for email alerts today through the homepage!

The Trajectory of Success in Hollywood: The Roller Coaster Careers of Film Directors

Hollywood Sign[We’re pleased to welcome Babis Mainemelis of The American College of Greece. Dr. Mainemelis recently published an article in Journal of Management Inquiry, entitled “Surviving a Boundaryless Creative Career: The Case of Oscar-Nominated Film Directors, 1967-2014” with co-authors Sevasti-Melissa Nolas of University of Sussex and Stavroula Tsirogianni of Canterbury Christ Church University.]

For the general public, individuals like Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, Milos Forman, Stanley Kubrick, Mike Nichols, Alan Parker, Roman Polanski, Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg are among the most successful directors of Hollywood. In this paper we present the results of a biographical study which suggests that these filmmakers are not only successful, not only directors, and not only Hollywood. Despite the great variability in their stories, throughout their careers they all experienced iterative cycles of success
and failure, be it in critical acclaim and/or at the box office; they all enacted various roles other than of the director; and they all worked in contexts and media other than Hollywood and feature films.

We found that many of those transitions were JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointrecursive, rather than linear, which suggests that directorial careers are not fixed in any single organization, short-term project, professional role, or medium. We also found that mobility to other professional roles or/and media is linked to and has implications for maintaining career alternatives; acquiring insider domain knowledge; calibrating social networks; renewing one’s creative energy; and protecting one’s creative freedom; without any of these drivers alone reliably increasing chances of success.

While past research has focused sharply on success as a career outcome, our paper offers a more balanced perspective and conceptualizes success and failure not as endings but as beginnings, as critical moments that influence the unfolding of boundaryless careers. An Oscar-winning blockbuster or a financial flop denigrated by the critics can exert such a great influence on careers that we may as well conceptualize success and failure as boundaries that mark the evolution of careers. While in the extant literature the dominant metaphors of boundaryless careers are those of “paths,” “ladders,” “trajectories,” and “plateaus,” our findings suggest a new metaphor: the roller coaster.

We believe that the findings of our study and the questions that we discuss above would potentially be interesting for researchers working in the fields of boundaryless careers and creative industries, but also for film students as well as industry practitioners struggling to make their way to film industry.

The abstract:

Previous research has examined how mobility and career competencies influence success in boundaryless careers. In this study, we flip the direction of those relationships and we explore how the interplay between success and failure relates to subsequent mobility, career competencies, and career evolution through the life span. Using a biographical design, we conceptualize success and failure as critical moments that influence the unfolding of the boundaryless careers of Oscar-nominated film directors. While the dominant metaphors of boundaryless careers are those of “paths,” “ladders,” “trajectories,” and “plateaus,” our findings suggest a new metaphor: the roller coaster.

You can read “Surviving a Boundaryless Creative Career: The Case of Oscar-Nominated Film Directors, 1967-2014” from Journal of Management Inquiry free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Pushing the Boundaries: Studying the Boundaryless Creative Careers of Film Directors

Oscars Awards

Creative careers can differ quite a bit from the average 9-to-5 desk job, but only some go so far as to defy boundaries in the way that boundaryless careers do. Individuals in boundaryless careers enjoy organizational mobility, geographical mobility, occupational mobility, the ability to work outside of organizational boundaries based on preference, and the ability to reject career opportunities for personal reasons. But how do these factors impact the path of a boundaryless career? In their article, “Surviving a Boundaryless Creative Career: The Case of Oscar-Nominated Film Directors, 1967-2014,” published in Journal of Management Inquiry, authors Charalampos Mainemelis of The American College of Greece, Sevasti-Melissa Nolas of University of Sussex, and Stavroula Tsirogianni of Canterbury Christ Church University studied the success and failures of Oscar-nominated film directors over their careers to determine how a boundaryless career might look in comparison with traditional office jobs.

The abstract from their paper:

Previous research has examined how mobility and career competencies influence JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointsuccess in boundaryless careers. In this study, we flip the direction of those relationships and we explore how the interplay between success and failure relates to subsequent mobility, career competencies, and career evolution through the life span. Using a biographical design, we conceptualize success and failure as critical moments that influence the unfolding of the boundaryless careers of Oscar-nominated film directors. While the dominant metaphors of boundaryless careers are those of “paths,” “ladders,” “trajectories,” and “plateaus,” our findings suggest a new metaphor: the roller coaster.

You can read  “Surviving a Boundaryless Creative Career: The Case of Oscar-Nominated Film Directors, 1967-2014” from Journal of Management Inquiry by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from Journal of Management Inquiry? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Oscars award picture credited to Global Panorama (CC)

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Hollywood’s Gender-Wage Gap

JMI_72ppiRGB_powerpointKaley Cuoco recently learned the hard way to be careful what you say in an interview after her comments on feminism in the February issue of Redbook magazine provoked some harsh criticism from the media and fans alike. When asked if she considered herself a feminist, the 29-year old actress was quoted as saying “Is it bad if I say no? … I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality.”

If it is true that she hasn’t run up against gender bias in her acting career, Cuoco is a rare case. The New York Film Academy looked at how women are portrayed in the top 500 films between 2007 and 2012 and found that only 30.8% of speaking characters were women, a third of which were shown partially naked or in sexually revealing clothing. They even found that this latter trend increased 32.5% for teenage actresses in the years studied.

What’s more, while the immediate backlash from her comments may have caused Cuoco to go on what she jokingly calls her “apology tour,” the sad truth is if she hasn’t experienced inequality yet, it might just be a matter of time. A recent study published in Journal of Management Inquiry entitled “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” found that a female actor’s age may play an additional role in Hollywood’s gender-wage gap:

The abstract:

Research on the gender-wage gap shows equivocal evidence regarding its magnitude, which likely stems from the different wage-related variables researchers include in their calculations. To examine whether pay differentials solely based on gender exist, we focused on the earnings of top performing professionals within a specific occupation to rule out productivity-related explanations for the gender-wage gap. Specifically, we investigated the interaction of gender and age on the earnings of Hollywood top movie stars. The results reveal that the average earnings per film of female movie stars increase until the age of 34 but decrease rapidly thereafter. Male movie stars’ average earnings per film reach the maximum at age 51 and remain stable after that.

You can read “Age, Gender, and Compensation: A Study of Hollywood Movie Stars” from Journal of Management Inquiry for free by clicking here. Want to know about all the latest research like this? Click here to sign up for e-alerts from Journal of Management Inquiry!

Psychological Science at Work

Minds for Business blogThe Association for Psychological Science recently debuted their business research blog, Minds for Business, devoted to the study of work and leadership.

It is described as “the indispensable research blog on the science of the modern workplace, covering everything from leadership and management to the behavioral, social, and cognitive dynamics behind performance and achievement. It is for professionals wanting to better understand the behavioral, social and cognitive dynamics that affect their careers, organizations and life satisfaction. Topics include proven negotiation strategies, motivation, effective management practices, optimal team design, gender and racial bias in professional settings and financial judgement.” The blog will feature research from the APS journals, Psychological Science, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Perspectives on Psychological Science, Clinical Psychological Science, and others.

Recent posts:

Visit the blog here: Minds for Business. Follow APS on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

To Succeed, Should You Specialize?

In today’s market, does job specialization help or hinder one’s career? A new article published by John-Paul Ferguson and Sharique Hasan of Stanford University in Administrative Science Quarterly, “Specialization and Career Dynamics: Evidence from the Indian Administrative Service,” provides a unique perspective on this debate:

There are advantages to focusing on one thing. Whether it is because of skills that one learns on the job or because of the clearer signals of identity that one sends to potential employers, specializing can help an employee get ahead. Yet there are also advantages to broad experience. These might accrue from developing different skills or might be due to the ability to broker between different domains of expertise…

????????????????????????????In this paper, we use a rich set of longitudinal data about the background, work experiences, and career outcomes of officers in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) to parse the effect of specialization on career advancement. These data help us with both of these problems. First, the structure of the IAS minimizes variance in unobserved ability and rules out self-selection and survivor bias. This allows us to estimate more convincing, causal benefits of specialization on career advancement. Second, the IAS data include information about skills its officers acquire in each job, as well as the skill requirements of each job.

Click here to read the article in Administrative Science Quarterly, and visit the journal’s OnlineFirst section for more brand-new articles on organizational studies.

SAGE Journals Recently In the News

In recent weeks, SAGE journals have cropped up in news outlets including The New York Times and the Toronto Star, offering fresh insights on management topics ranging from employee burnout and worker mobility to sports economics.

In today’s post, we bring you those media highlights and take a closer look at the studies that inspired them. We hope you find this selection interesting and useful.

Matthew Bidwell of the University of Pennsylvania published “Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility” in the September 2011 issue of Administrative Science Quarterly (ASQ). The article was discussed in The New York Times’ Job Market section’s “The Pros and Cons of Hiring Outsiders” piece, which commented on its assertion that external hires out-earn and under-perform internal workers who are promoted:

The findings may well stir indignation among internal employees passed over for jobs in favor of outsiders. The implications are worth considering as the economy improves, loosening hiring budgets and letting more employees seek greener pastures. They come amid a long-term trend of job mobility, with the idea of working for one employer for life seeming downright antiquated.

Read more at NYTimes.com, and access the full ASQ article here.

* * *

John J. Binder of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Murray Findlay of Soccer Success Inc. published “The Effects of the Bosman Ruling on National and Club Teams in Europe” in the April 2012 issue of the Journal of Sports Economics (JSE). New York Times blogger Jack Bell called the article “food for thought” in that it sheds new light on the 1995 Bosman ruling, which gave free agency status to out-of-contract soccer players:

While the authors discuss — and generally debunk — Bosman myths having to do with the dominance of a few clubs in their domestic leagues and the effects on national teams, they assert that the ruling’s biggest effect has been on the Champions League — and that the effect has been nothing but positive.

Wrote Bell: “Take a look at the complete report. It is an eye-opener. Academics and soccer … perfect together!”

Read more at Goal: The New York Times Soccer Blog, and access the full JSE article here.

* * *

Émilie Lapointe of the University of Montreal, Christian Vandenberghe of HEC Montreal, and Alexandra Panaccio of Concordia University published “Organizational commitment, organization-based self-esteem, emotional exhaustion and turnover: A conservation of resources perspective” in the December 2011 issue of Human Relations. The article, widely released this month in various Web outlets, appeared in a Toronto Star piece on employee burnout, which quoted Professor Panaccio:

“We found two forms of commitment had a negative impact and made people more likely to experience emotional exhaustion or burn out — a chronic state of physical and mental depletion resulting from continuous stress and excessive work demands,” Panaccio told the Toronto Star in an interview.

Read more at the Toronto Star, and access the full HR article here.

Are you interested in receiving email alerts whenever a new article or issue becomes available? Then click here!