Conflict in academic departments: An analysis of disputes over faculty promotion and tenure

James C. Hearn, Melissa S. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Because the academic department is the foundational unit of U.S. universities, conflict in that setting is both theoretically and practically important. This analysis focuses on divisiveness in votes for promotion and tenure in departments at a large research university. The findings suggest that the departments most likely to experience very split voting patterns are those with larger instructional loads for faculty, low levels of internal curricular specialization, and "soft" disciplinary paradigms. The implications of these results for research and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-529
Number of pages27
JournalResearch in Higher Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded in part by a research grant to the first author from the Spencer Foundation. That support is gratefully acknowledged. The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of John Smart, Adrianna Kezar, and anonymous reviewers for this journal, as well as the research assistance of Janet M. Holdsworth.


  • Academic departments
  • Conflict
  • Faculty
  • Tenure


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