Publish or Perish: Academic Life as Management Faculty Live It

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Career Development International







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Purpose – Although many in academe have speculated about the effects of pressure to publish on the management discipline – often referred to as “publish or perish” – prevailing knowledge has been based on anecdotal rather than empirical evidence. The aim of the present paper is to shed light on the perceptions of management faculty regarding the pressure to publish imperative.

Design/methodology/approach – The authors surveyed faculty in 104 management departments of AACSB accredited, research-oriented US business schools to explore the prevalence, sources, and effects of pressure to publish.

Findings – Results indicate that pressure to publish affects both tenured and tenure-track management faculty, although the latter, as a group, feel significantly more pressure than those who are tenured. The primary source of this pressure is faculty themselves who are motivated by the prospects of enhancing their professional reputation, leaving a permanent mark on their profession, and increasing their salary and job mobility. The effects of pressure to publish include heightened stress levels; the marginalization of teaching; and research that may lack relevance, creativity, and innovation.

Research limitations/implications – The sample was intentionally restricted to faculty from management departments affiliated with research-oriented US business schools and does not include faculty from departments that are less research-oriented and, therefore, would be expected to put less pressure on their faculty to publish.

Practical implications – Although the effects of pressure to publish are not necessarily always negative, the paper offers some fundamental suggestions to management (and other) faculty who wish to mitigate the deleterious effects of pressure to publish.

Originality/value – Although the findings may not be surprising to more seasoned faculty, to the authors’ knowledge this is the first time they have been documented in the published literature. As such, they advance discussions of “publish or perish” beyond mere conjecture and “shared myths” allowing management faculty to more rationally debate its consequences and their implications for academic life.


Academic life; Business schools; Management research; Pressure to publish; Publish or perish; Publishing; Research work; Tenure and promotion


Business | Education | Higher Education | Management Information Systems | Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods




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