ERIC Number: ED339306
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Nov-1
Reference Count: 0
Sources of Stress for Academic Department Chairs: A National Study. ASHE Annual Meeting Paper.
Gmelch, Walter H.; Burns, John S.
This multidimensional study examined the stress experienced by academic department chairs with emphasis on the chair's "person in the middle" role between faculty colleagues and the institution's administration. The study combined factors from the Administrative Stress Index with the Faculty Stress Index to develop a single, multidimensional instrument which focused on task-based factors, role-based factors, conflict-mediating factors, reward and recognition factors, and professional identity factors. The sample consisted of 808 chairs from 101 institutions. Participants were from academic disciplines stratified by Biglan's eight cell classification of the six characteristics of the subject matter of disciplines: hard versus soft, applied versus pure, and life versus nonlife. Examples of cells are: hard-pure-nonlife (e.g., chemistry); and soft-pure-nonlife (e.g., English). Of those sent the survey, 564 responded. The results of the study indicated that stress appeared to be monolithic in its effect. No differences were found among men and women chairs, age differences of chairs, chairs in different disciplines (except for the professional identity factor), and whether chairs were oriented toward faculty or administration. Department chairs appeared to have more similarities than differences across disciplines. The conflict-mediating role of the chair position is the most stressful and may influence chairs' willingness to serve again. Included are 5 tables and 47 references. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Administrative Stress Index; ASHE Annual Meeting; Biglan Model
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (Boston, MA, October 31-November 3, 1991).