ERIC Number: ED410771
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Contract Systems, Bureaucracies, and Faculty Motivation: The Probable Effects of a No-Tenure Policy.
Bess, James L.
This paper discusses the benefits and problems of tenure at higher education institutions in light of criticisms of a lack of faculty accountability and productivity. It examines the effects of contract versus tenure systems on faculty motivation, and argues that it is not the security of tenure that reduces faculty motivation and hence productivity, but rather the absence of necessary organizational contextual conditions that build on the underlying requisite base support of tenure and thus induce strong motivation. These conditions include an organizational design that provides for: (1) intrinsic satisfactions derived from the work itself; (2) communication mechanisms that permit peer generated productivity and quality norms; (3) multiple career tracks that lead to high status; (4) the opportunity to take risks in new intellectual ventures without penalty; and (5) an expectation of trust and goodwill. The paper concludes that it would be more sensible to improve the conditions for making tenure successful new kinds of academic organizations, peer review procedures and peer sanctions, and better interinstitutional mobility than to replace it with a contract system whose negative consequences in the long run will be much more damaging than the short-term benefits that may result. (Contains 60 references.) (MDM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 1997).