Academic work from a comparative perspective: a survey of faculty working time across 13 countries

Sociological institutional theory views universities as model driven organizations. The world’s stratification system promotes conformity, imitation and isomorphism towards the “best” university models. Accordingly, academic roles may be locally shaped in minor ways, but are defined and measured explicitly in global terms. We test this proposition using data on the allocation of working time between academic tasks at research universities in thirteen countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Malaysia, Norway, UK, and the USA. We find that working time patterns differ significantly across countries, suggesting that conditions of academic work remain heavily dependent on national higher education traditions. Faculty members holding the highest professorial rank share more in common, with generally stronger interests in research and a greater time dedication to research over teaching. However, in countries with comparably steep academic hierarchies, professor positions typically entail significantly fewer teaching hours and more administration.

publication details

Title Academic work from a comparative perspective: a survey of faculty working time across 13 countries
Category Academic article
AuthorPeter Bentley
AuthorSvein Kyvik
publication year2012
issn0018-1560