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"Life could be a dream": What US-based management PhD students desire in an initial academic appointment

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to first identify the work- and non-work-related criteria US-based management doctoral students consider important in selecting an initial academic appointment, and second, to explore whether gender and race/ethnicity are associated with the importance attached to these criteria. Design/methodology/approach ‐ To address these objectives, the authors developed a 125-item survey of work- and non-work-related criteria that management PhD students about to enter the academic labor market for the first time may wish to consider in weighing prospective job opportunities. Findings ‐ Job and professional considerations were dominant in assessing an initial employment opportunity. Female doctoral students differed from their male counterparts in attaching greater importance to four major themes: family friendliness, research support, clarity of performance and reward criteria, and university and community diversity. Race/ethnicity differences were also found, with Asian doctoral students valuing considerations related to academic prestige and research support more than their White counterparts. Research limitations/implications ‐ Respondents indicated their race/ethnicity, but not their nationality, or whether they were immigrants or US citizens and, thus, may have confounded the results to some degree. Practical implications ‐ The authors' results carry important implications for departmental administrators seeking to fill open positions with first-time faculty candidates, as well as management PhD students interested in whether a department can meet their expectations regarding academic and financial resources necessary for academic success. Originality/value ‐ In that detailed information about what PhD students in general and management doctoral students in particular want in an initial academic appointment is limited, the paper fills a longstanding gap in the research literature.
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Keywords: Academic careers; Academic job preferences; Doctoral student recruitment; Faculty recruitment; Initial academic appointments; United States of America; Universities

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-08-16

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