Academia in Transition: Empirical Evidence from Business Researchers



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Academia has been subject to constant change in recent years. In particular, the introduction of market-based structures and the implementation of performance-based funding decisions, often summarized under the term ‘New Public Management’, have affected researchers in a variety of ways (Hicks 2012; Schmoch and Schubert 2010; Schubert 2009). This dissertation deals with transitions that have shaped the academic labor market. The focus here is, exemplarily, on business researchers in German-speaking countries. Based on a unique, hand-collected data set, four articles address changes that business researchers have faced during the past thirty years. The first article “Publication Behavior in Different Fields of Business Administration: From Anecdotal to Empirical Evidence” investigates into the publication behavior (e.g. regarding the focus on practitioner journals or the focus on particularly renowned journals) of business researchers who operate in different business administration fields such as accounting or finance. The analysis of such differences contains important implications regarding the allocation of funds in business administration faculties that are often based on the professors’ research output (Sieweke et al. 2014). The findings show significant differences in publication behavior across different business administration fields and highlight that especially accounting professors tend to publish differently when compared to their peers in other fields. Among other aspects, they publish more often in practitioner journals and less often in internationally renowned journals. The article discusses that these differences might lead to disadvantages concerning resource allocation within business administration faculties and, hence, should be considered when evaluating the research output of business researchers. The second article “The Times They Are a-Changin’: Profiling Newly Tenured Business Economics Professors in Germany over the Past Thirty Years” analyzes how profiles of newly tenured business researchers, who were exposed to reforms associated with New Public Management, have changed over time. The results reveal that business researchers have become more diverse (e.g. regarding their gender or the internationality of their education) and that their professional networks have increased significantly over time. Most importantly, however, the article shows that tenure requirements concerning publications in highly renowned international journals have changed as well, i.e. in order to obtain a tenured professorship today, more publications in highly renowned journals are necessary compared to thirty years ago. This article provides important practical implications, particularly for junior business researchers who strive to become a tenured professor. The third article “Closing the Gender Gap in Academia? Evidence from an Affirmative Action Program” investigates the causal effect of an affirmative action program, i.e. the so-called Professorinnenprogramm in Germany. This program intends to increase the fraction of newly tenured female professors in order to close the gender gap in the academic labor market (Löther 2019). The findings of this article reveal that this program was successful in German business administration faculties. More precisely, the article shows that the probability that a newly tenured professor is female increases at universities that participate in this program when compared to universities that do not participate. Furthermore, the article delves deeper into the mechanisms of the program and shows that the program has lowered the entry barrier regarding the publication records for new female professors while not impacting the publication records of new male professors. The fourth article “How do researchers react to changing incentives? Causal evidence from a journal ranking update” focuses on the incentive effect of journal rankings. Journal rankings become increasingly popular, for example, to objectify hiring decisions or to allocate funds within business administration faculties and thus publications in highly ranked journals are often referred to as “the currency” in academia (Aguinis et al. 2020; Osterloh and Frey 2020; Drivas and Kremmydas 2020). Despite a growing body of literature in this field, our knowledge on whether and how journal rankings actually affect researchers’ publication behavior is still limited. This article analyzes the response of business researchers located in the German-speaking countries to the update of the most prominent German business journal ranking and provides causal evidence that researchers actually respond to journal rankings by adjusting their publication behavior accordingly. Furthermore, the results indicate that especially younger researchers and those with stronger publication records respond more strongly. Hence, this article contains important implications for university managers and policy makers who intend to steer researchers’ publication behavior. Overall, this dissertation presents how the academic labor market in German-speaking countries in general, respectively the academic labor market for business researchers in particular has changed over time. The reforms associated with New Public Management have impacted academia in a variety of ways and this dissertation provides empirical – partly even causal – evidence how these reforms have changed the way research is conducted and how they have impacted hiring decisions of universities. As a result, this dissertation offers important insights for researchers, higher education managers, and policy makers going into the future.




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