Original Research

Designation differences and academic career progression

Chris W. Callaghan
Acta Commercii | Vol 15, No 1 | a267 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v15i1.267 | © 2015 Chris W. Callaghan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 April 2014 | Published: 05 May 2015

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Chris W. Callaghan, School of Economic and Business Sciences of the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: According to the human resources literature, academics may need to ‘balance’ certain issues in order to enable career progression.

Research purpose: This research sought to test the theory that predicted differences between individuals by designation cohort membership (Mr/Ms, doctoral and professorial designation) in order to make recommendations for how academic staff could better facilitate their career development.

Motivation for the study: This research attempted to identify certain ‘crisis milestones’ that reflect potential role conflicts that may constrain academic career progression.

Research design, approach and method: Academic staff of a large South African university (with over 30 000 students) provided the sampling frame for an empirical study. Using logistic regression, three career markers that reflect different career cohorts – Mr/Ms designation, doctoral designation and professorial designation – were each regressed on a range of biographical and contextual factors derived from the literature and a comparative analysis was performed.

Main findings: Findings suggest that these cohorts differ significantly according to: satisfaction with teaching; satisfaction with administration; research self-efficacy; and dependent children. ‘Crisis milestones’, potentially related to role conflicts, might need to be resolved before career progression to doctoral and professorial designations can occur.

Practical/Managerial implications: Knowledge of these ‘crisis milestones’ can be used to help academics to manage role conflicts and issues. This might remove unnecessary constraints to academic career progression.

Contribution/Value add: This study provides new insights into certain ‘crisis milestones’, or role conflicts or issues, that may need to be resolved or balanced before the career progression of academics can typically occur.


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