Can you do all in one professional label? Complementarity, substitution, and independence effects in academic life

Carli, Giacomo and Tagliaventi, Maria Rita (2022). Can you do all in one professional label? Complementarity, substitution, and independence effects in academic life. Higher Education (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-022-00868-y

Abstract

The diffusion of evaluation systems based on research excellence has been confronting scholars with the dilemma of how to combine the different activities and roles characterizing the academic profession. Besides research, other types of knowledge transfer and academic citizenship, i.e., the service activities and roles carried out on behalf of the university within and outside organizational boundaries, are in fact cornerstones of universities’ functioning that allow for their thriving and need to be valued. This study investigates the complementarity, substitution, and independence effects between the various types of knowledge transfer and academic citizenship in a sample of 752 Italian academics working in business schools. We collected data combining different sources including CVs, publication records, and national datasets. Multivariate path analysis was employed to measure covariances between knowledge transfer and academic citizenship. We contribute to the debate on academic citizenship by showing that public and discipline-based service are complementary to knowledge transfer activities, while institutional service is independent from knowledge transfer. Remarkably, journal papers are research outcomes complementary to most academic activities, and the same holds true for dissemination at workshops and conferences. Running counter dominant rhetoric, this study testifies to the likelihood of faculty being “all-round” professionals. We disclose that activities and roles are influenced by academics’ previous pathways and research grants and discuss the need to value academic citizenship in performance measurement systems.

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