Tenure-Track Opt-Outs: Leakages from the Academic Pipeline

Published In

Advances in Accounting Education

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Purpose: To understand the reasons that accounting academics leave the tenure-track academic pipeline.

Design/methodology/approach: Survey study was conducted of PhD graduates who left the tenure-track accounting pipeline over a 22-year period.

Findings: We located and surveyed accounting PhD graduates who have opted out of the tenure-track. These opt-outs included those who have left academia entirely and those who have moved into non-tenure-track positions. Survey results indicate that dissatisfaction with research expectations is the most significant factor for faculty now employed in non-tenure-track positions. Although there were no gender-related differences in the number of faculty who left the tenure-track but stayed in academia, there were some gender differences in the importance of family-related factors in motivating the move off of the tenure-track.

Research limitations/implications: The study examines the importance of the “push” and “pull” factors associated with changing career paths in academia that have been identified in the literature. The study finds some differences in influential factors between accounting academia and other fields. Sample size is a potential limitation.

Practical implications: The study provides recommendations for PhD program directors and for hiring institutions to help reduce the number of opt-outs.

Social implications: Retention of qualified faculty who are dedicated teachers improves students’ educational outcomes.

Originality/value: This is the first study to examine factors that drive accounting academics to opt-out of the tenure-track.


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