Call for Papers
Academy of Management
Learning & Education
RHYTHMS OF ACADEMIC LIFE:
FROST AND TAYLOR 20 YEARS ON
Publication Date June,
Jon Billsberry, Deakin University
Michael Cohen, Deakin University
Tine Köhler, University of
Micheal Stratton, University of North
Susan Taylor, University of Maryland
at College Park
About 20 years ago, the seminal text on this subject was
published, Rhythms of Academic Life (Frost &
Taylor, 1996). More than 50 management scholars published personal
reflections on a broad range of career-related issues in this
volume. In their concluding commentary, Frost and Taylor (1996:
485) say that being an academic, "is a privileged life, but also a
challenging one." Today the buzz at conferences and in the hallways
of business schools is that this balance has been lost, and that
the scales tipped too far in the challenging direction. Frost and
Taylor (1996: 486) continue, "Doubtless we will need to reexamine
the rhythms of academic life anew in the future." Given the
far-reaching changes that have taken place in the past 20 years,
the time has come for this reexamination.
Many management academics would agree: Working life in Business
Schools has changed greatly over the last couple of decades
(Miller, Taylor, & Bedeian, 2011). Indeed, most would say that
the pace of change is increasing. Like other professions,
globalization and technological innovation have strongly affected
academia. Today scholars from around the world vie for publications
in the top journals in the field, apply for academic jobs in
countries other than their home country, and are evaluated for
promotion and tenure not just against peers in their own university
or country but against academics globally. Academic staff are
expected to build global networks, innovate in their teaching,
collaborate with researchers around the world, engage in activities
and services to professional associations beyond their local
communities, engage in the commercial world (Perkmann et al.,
2013), and contribute to a global academic community. In many
universities traditional values of collegiality are breaking down
under the weight of managerialist cultures where almost all
activity is assessed for quality, quantity, and impact (Aguinis,
Shapiro, Antonacopoulou, & Cummings, 2014; Starbuck, 2005;
White, Carvalho, & Riordan, 2011; Winter, 2009). Students are
now often considered customers, both by universities and
themselves, bringing a new category of pressure which includes
management academics competing amongst themselves for students to
enroll in their courses (Finney & Finney, 2010; Franz, 1998).
All in all, life as an academic has become more stressful,
competitive, uncertain, ambiguous, and sometimes overwhelming,
while at the same time competition for resources has
On the flipside, academics now have many more opportunities to
engage with the larger academic community around the world.
Information about journals and conferences is more easily available
and there is much greater clarity about the perceived quality of
publication outlets (Adler & Harzing, 2009; Hussain, 2015).
Professional associations, conference organizers, and departments
provide different forms of training and support for the writing of
journal publications, making the publication process much less
mysterious than a few decades ago. Most management academics now
have PhDs and possess the research training that accompanies the
qualification. Job and other opportunities are widely disseminated
and interviewing people on the other side of the world televisually
is now the norm. Gone are the days when changing employers was seen
as a stain on a CV, and there is now an open job market for
management academic staff, with publications and research funding
being the main currency.
We work in changing times with no great certainty about the
future of our roles. The rhythm of our jobs seems markedly
different to just a few years ago.
The purpose of this special issue is to explore the ways in
which management academic jobs and careers are changing, the
reasons for these changes, and the impact that these changes will
have in the future. We want to explore these matters theoretically
and empirically, and to encourage perspectives from different
philosophies, designs, and approaches. Consequently, we encourage
both conceptual and empirical submissions that address the jobs and
careers of management educators and have no preconceptions about
suitable ontologies or epistemologies.
While Rhythms of Academic Life was purposely built
around "academics' own account of their personal experiences"
(Whetten, 1996, p. xv) and consisted of essays and opinion pieces,
we welcome submissions to all sections of the journal, i.e.,
Research and Reviews, Essays, Dialogues and Interviews, and
Resource Reviews. We especially encourage empirical examinations
and conceptual papers that examine the theoretical underpinnings of
academic careers. As Bedeian (1996, p. 3) in his chapter in
Rhythms of Academic Life pointed out, "[…] the
scientific databases dealing with academic career success are quite
limited." In this special issue, we would like to fill this void
with inspired and focused research. To reiterate, while many of the
chapters in Rhythms of Academic Life contained
personal stories, that format is unlikely to work well in this
Special Issue and we encourage prospective contributors to use one
of the formats traditionally found in AMLE.
In addition, we look forward to receiving submissions of
insightful essays, dialogues, and interviews. We also envision some
pieces that will extend the content of Rhythms of Academic
Life by using a stronger international lens, focusing
more on the impact that globalization and technological
advancements had over the past two decades, and providing outlooks
as to the likely developments for academic careers for the next 20
Where prospective contributors are considering interviews,
exemplary contributions, or reviews, we request that you contact
the guest editorial team to ensure that you are not duplicating the
work of others. We would like to hear from people who would be
interested in reviewing books and other resources (such as films,
academic collaboration tools, etc.) on the topic of academic
Some research questions and issues that prospective contributors
might address, among many others, are:
- Have the careers of management academics changed? If so, how?
Are these changes different to changes in other disciplines? Are
they different for different types of staff? Are the changes
different in different regions of the world? What are the
underlying reasons for these differences? Extrapolating from these
differences in change, what can be expected for the future of a
global management academic community?
- How does global competition for academic jobs, publication
space in the top journals, seats on editorial boards, and the like
impact on an individual academic's career? Has the field seen a
convergence or diversification of research approaches and standards
for research output that are beneficial or detrimental to the
creation of scientific knowledge? How has the fact that English has
become the main language of academia changed academic careers?
- What are the knowledge, skills, and other abilities (KSAs)
required for a successful academic career? Has this changed and, if
so, how? Do these KSAs change during different phases of an
- Are particular inter-individual differences (such as
personalities or personality types, cognitive-processing styles,
types of motivations and motives) more conducive to an academic
career than others? Do particular or similar types or styles suit
the different functions of teaching, research, and service?
- Is an academic career a vocation? To what extent is teaching
the core activity?
- How have new delivery methods, such as technology-enabled
teaching, or teaching in highly diverse classrooms, influenced
- How does the fact that many universities now operate satellite
campuses in other counties influence management academic jobs and
- What is the impact on academic careers of the 'customerization'
- Have the jobs of management academics become more stressful or
unhealthy? If so, how? How do the stress levels of management
academics compare to people in other jobs? What are business
schools and universities doing to reduce or manage stress? What are
implications for work-life balance, job satisfaction, life
satisfaction, physical and mental health, organizational
commitment, and other well-being related concepts?
- How do management academics apportion their time between the
key functions of teaching, research, and service? Has this changed?
If so, why? How should management academics balance teaching,
research, and service in their roles? How has the administrative
nature of the job changed?
- What has been the impact of faster technologies and greater
connectedness on academic jobs?
- How have changes in academic careers and the larger academic
context contributed to some of the biggest challenges we have seen
lately, such as issues with research ethics (e.g., plagiarism,
falsification of data, misuse of research methods, coercive
citation practices) or larger numbers of casual and unemployed
academics (e.g., post PhD graduation)? How can we resolve some of
- How have academic appointment contracts changed? What impact
does this have upon academic careers? For example, there are now
fewer tenure-track positions for which a larger number of
applicants vie, higher expectations for output, and an increased
use of fixed-term contracts. What impact is this situation going to
have on academics, students, and business schools?
- How do graduate students and junior faculty view their careers?
How and to what extent are they effectively socialized into an
- To what extent do management academics still have 'academic
- What is 'impact' over the course of one's career? How can
management academics achieve and demonstrate it?
- Does external service help an academic career? If so, how? What
is the impact of service roles on management academic careers?
- Do editor and associate editor roles for journals help or
hinder academic careers? Are there different ways to approach these
roles to change the impact they have? How do business schools
support management academics in these roles?
- What does academic leadership look like today? What does
academic leadership need to look like in the future so that our
profession can manage its biggest challenges?
- What role, if any, has the emergence and importance of
accreditation of business schools had on academic careers? Has the
focus of business schools changed with increasing importance of
accreditation? If it has, how have these dynamics influenced
- What advice should we be giving current and aspiring (e.g., PhD
students) management academics about how to prepare themselves for
the future? Are our training approaches for PhD students still on
par with the current and future requirements of an academic career?
If not, how should we change our PhD training?
- What are the opportunities that come out of today's academic
landscape? What are exciting developments?
- How are careers changed when academics move from research-based
to teaching-based institutions? What are the causes/consequences of
such shifts? Is movement in the opposite direction possible?
Submissions should be received by September
1st, 2017, and should adhere to the "Style and
Format" guide for authors that can be found at
Manuscripts should be submitted at
http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/amle, and designated under
Manuscript Type as "Special Issue on Academic Careers".
Pre-submission discussion of and consultation on potential
submission ideas and topics are also welcome. For further
information, please contact the lead guest editor, Jon Billsberry,
All submissions will be subject to a rigorous, double-blind,
Manuscripts should be submitted
by September 1, 2017.
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