Excellent Researcher or Good Public Servant? The Interplay between Research and Academic Citizenship

Tagliaventi, Maria Rita; Carli, Giacomo and Cutolo, Donato (2020). Excellent Researcher or Good Public Servant? The Interplay between Research and Academic Citizenship. Higher Education, 79 pp. 1057–1078.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-019-00456-7


Academics have always been endowed with the privilege of autonomy, but the diffusion of evaluation systems based on publication outcomes potentially jeopardizes the benefits deriving from behaviors that address other pillars of higher education. Besides research and teaching, academic citizenship, i.e., the service behaviors carried out within and outside organizational boundaries, are in fact cornerstones of university functioning. We investigate the relationship between academic citizenship and research after the introduction of an evaluation system that moves research performance to center stage on a dataset collecting publication records and service activities of 353 Italian scholars in the accounting discipline in the 2004-2013 period. A cluster analysis reveals different academics' orientations towards research and academic citizenship. We contribute to the debate on academic choices by showing that a large number of university members tend to focus on a single type of academic citizenship or to adopt a research orientation, while a significant part remains stuck in the middle without achieving satisfying performance in any domains according to international standards, and discuss implications for the design of behavioral incentives.

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