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Personnel

Review
28,1/2
108

Academics and their


managers: a comparative
study in job satisfaction
Titus Oshagbemi

Received April 1997


The Queens University of Belfast, Belfast, Northern Ireland,
Revised November 1997
Accepted December
Keywords Academic staff, Higher education, Job satisfaction, Management
1997

UK

Abstract A number of research findings have suggested that managers are, in general, more
satisfied with their jobs than are workers. This study aims to investigate the job satisfaction of
academics and their managers, and to find out whether academics who hold managerial positions
are, on the whole, more satisfied with their jobs than academics who do not hold similar
administrative posts. The study found that university teachers are fairly satisfied with their jobs,
although there are aspects of their jobs from which they derive some dissatisfaction. Using a
statistical test of differences, it was found that academics and their managers differ significantly
on the levels of satisfaction which they derive from most aspects of their jobs. Sources of these
differences are identified, and the general conclusion is that management position, characterised
by seniority in age, rank, and length of service, affects university teachers level of job satisfaction
positively.

Personnel Review,
Vol. 28 No. 1/2, 1999, pp. 108-123,
MCB University Press, 0048-3486

Introduction
Job satisfaction refers to an individuals positive emotional reactions to a
particular job. It is an affective reaction to a job that results from the persons
comparison of actual outcomes with those that are desired, anticipated, or
deserved.
The topic of job satisfaction is an important one because of its relevance to
the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees, i.e. job satisfaction has
relevance for human health. In addition to its humanitarian value, job
satisfaction appears to be extensively researched in a variety of organisations
for work-related objectives. This is because of the implicit assumptions that job
satisfaction is a potential determinant of productivity, absenteeism, turnover,
in-role job performance and extra-role behaviour, and also that the primary
antecedents of job attitudes are within managements ability to influence.
Consequently, job satisfaction is perhaps one of the single most extensively
researched topics in the field of organisational psychology. Locke (1976)
estimated that, as of 1976, about 3,350 articles or dissertations had been written
on the topic. According to Oshagbemi (1996), this estimate would probably be
doubled if a count of relevant articles and dissertations were made today.
While several studies have explored whether various characteristics of
workers such as their age, gender, rank, length of service etc. have any relevance
to their level of job satisfaction (Hagedorn, 1997; Herbert and Burke, 1997;
MonizCook et al., 1997; Oshagbemi, 1997a; 1997b; 1997c; 1998; Scandura and
Lankau, 1997), very few investigations have focused on managers and their

workers in similar work environments. In addition, while there are a few


research studies involving university teachers as subjects, very few of these
were job satisfaction studies. This situation of relative neglect of this work
group prompted the present study and we believe that more studies on the job
satisfaction of university teachers are not only justified, but long overdue.
Academics are worthy of further studies, not only in the area of job satisfaction,
but in other areas as well (Oshagbemi, 1996).
Objectives of the present study
A few research findings within the industrial sector suggest that managers tend
to be more satisfied with their jobs when compared with other workers not
occupying managerial positions. This study explores whether such general
findings from industry are applicable in academia, i.e. whether there would be
significant differences in the job satisfaction levels of academics and their
managers. If the industrial situation is replicated in academia, the study will
explore the reasons for the differences in the job satisfaction levels of academics
and their managers. In particular, it will examine the socio-demographic
characteristics and differences age, length of service, rank, sex of the two
groups of workers in an attempt to explain the identified differences in their job
satisfaction levels.
Literature review
As a preliminary review of the literature on job satisfaction, the researcher
assessed the database held by the Institute of Scientific Information for relevant
publications on the topic. Invoking the Social Sciences Citation Index on Job
satisfaction between 1981-1997, the findings revealed that as many as 957
publications were recorded in the 17 years for which data were available. When
the search focused on studies of job satisfaction where teachers were the
subjects, 47 publications were recorded. The review at this stage included all
teachers primary and secondary school teachers, as well as teachers in
tertiary institutions all over the world. When job satisfaction studies relating to
university teachers were specifically sought, the Institute of Scientific
Information Social Sciences Database revealed that there were none between
1981 and 1997. In fact, teachers at all levels do not appear to attract much
attention from researchers, as the information on Table I, where less than 5 per
cent of the reported studies concern teachers, suggests.
About half a dozen job satisfaction related studies conducted with university
teachers as subjects were, however, reported before 1981 (Oshagbemi, 1996).
One common problem with these studies is the difficulty of generalising their
findings as they were more or less case studies of the situations in particular
universities. Twenty years is also long enough to regard these studies as dated,
in view of the recent and current changes occurring in higher education in the
UK.
As explained therefore there are very few job satisfaction studies carried out
within the university work environment. Furthermore, none of these studies

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their managers

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Table I.
Job satisfaction studies

Year

Number of studies

1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
Total

43
71
54
45
53
72
53
52
48
55
54
61
71
56
58
57
54
957

Number of
studies with teachers
as subjects
3
2
4
3
2
7
0
5
3
1
4
0
6
3
0
2
2
47

Source: Extracts from the Institute of Scientific Information Social Sciences Database

appeared to have researched the job satisfaction of academics and their


managers. Unfortunately, even the industrial work environment does not
appear to have several studies focused on managers and their workers.
Mottaz (1986) analysed data from 1,385 workers representing a variety of
occupations. His findings suggest that overall satisfaction is positively related
to occupational level, i.e. rank. He therefore concluded that it is useful to draw
distinctions between workers in upper-level and lower-level occupations when
attempting to make generalisations about workers job satisfaction.
Forgionne and Peeters (1982) surveyed a random sample of 450 managers
drawn from a variety of organisations in the USA. They found that the level of
management, among other things, explained differences in job satisfaction.
Similarly, Quinn et al. (1974) found that the job satisfaction of workers at
managerial levels was higher than those of workers at the shopfloor.
In the UK, Oshagbemi (1997a) employed cluster analysis to classify
university teachers into job satisfaction profiles but found no distinguishing
characteristics among the three categories of workers in terms of the rank,
leadership, or management responsibilities of the groups. However, Oshagbemi
(1997b) has shown that rank and the interaction of rank and gender have a
direct, positive and significant effect on the job satisfaction of university
teachers. Similarly, Miles et al. (1996) found job level (rank) to be a significant
predictor of workers level of job satisfaction. While publications on job
satisfaction studies are in thousands, therefore, and continue to grow, few of

them appear to focus the job satisfaction of workers and managers within the
university work environment.
Research methodology
A questionnaire survey was conducted in May 1994. The population for this
study comprised teachers from 23 universities in the UK. The universities were
selected to include sample institutions from all the regions of the country.
Subjects were 566 university teachers who responded to a questionnaire on job
satisfaction. These represent 51.4 per cent of possible respondents who were
randomly selected from the Commonwealth Universities Yearbook (Association
of Commonwealth Universities, 1993).
To measure the job satisfaction of university teachers, a questionnaire
comprising eight basic job elements and some demographic questions was
constructed. The job elements are:
(1) teaching
nature of the job;
(2) research
(3) administration and management
(4) present pay;
(5) promotions;
(6) supervision/supervisor behaviour;
(7) co-workers behaviour;
(8) physical conditions/working facilities.
Respondents were asked to indicate the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction
which they derived from each of the eight aspects of their jobs. The scale ranged
from 1 to 7 representing 1 = Extremely dissatisfied, 2 = Very dissatisfied, 3
= Dissatisfied, 4 = Indifferent, 5 = Satisfied, 6 = Very satisfied, 7 =
Extremely satisfied. The criteria were equally weighted.
The job elements in the study are consistent with findings on the
measurement of job satisfaction (Giles and Feild, 1978; Kulik et al., 1988; Loher
et al., 1985; Oshagbemi, 1995; Scarpello and Campbell, 1983; Schneider and
Dachler, 1978; Wanous and Lawler, 1972). For example, the elements in our
formulation are almost identical with those of the popular Job Descriptive Index
(Smith et al., 1969) which has been found to produce highly reliable results. (See,
for example, Imparato, 1972.)
Universities in this study were not categorised in to old and new,
although Mackay (1995a, 1995b) found that personnel policies within the two
types of universities differ. Possibly, this factor may have some relevance in
explaining the job satisfaction of academics within the two categories of
universities. This study has adopted an approach whereby personnel and other
policies are taken into consideration by respondents in stating their job
satisfaction levels on various aspects of their jobs.

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The statistical methods employed in the analysis include frequency


distributions to show satisfaction on aspects of jobs and t-tests to show significant
differences, if any, between the job satisfaction of workers and their managers.
Background of respondents
Table II shows a breakdown of the university teachers who responded to our
questionnaire. The Table shows the distribution of respondents age, sex, rank,

Percentage
Age
Less than 35 years
35-44
45-54
55+

14.3
35.0
36.7
14.0
100.0

Rank
Lecturer
Senior lecturer
Reader
Professor
Other

54.9
31.2
4.3
8.5
1.1
100.0

Sex
Male
Female
Length of service in higher education/present university (years)
0-5
6-10
11-20
21-30
31+
Area of academic discipline
Medicine/Pharmacy/Dentistry/Nursing
Engineering/Computing/Architecture/Archaeology/Building
Arts/Law/Education
Social Sciences/Management/Accountancy
Natural Sciences/Agriculture/Mathematics
Others

Table II.
Background of
respondents

Leadership or management responsibility


Head, Director, Dean, Provost, etc.
Not currently in charge of an academic unit or group
Holding other management posts

60.8
39.2
100.0
14.9
21.0
32.3
25.9
5.9
100.0

28.5
20.8
27.1
20.2
3.4
100.0
11.9
17.9
23.3
21.7
23.9
1.3
100.0
12.2
61.3
26.5
100.0

length of service in present university/higher education, areas of academic


discipline, and their leadership or management responsibilities.
The information on Table II shows that the academic backgrounds of the
respondents were very wide and cover most subject areas in the universities.
The distribution of the length of service spent in higher education shows that
respondents included relative newcomers who had spent less than five years
(about 15 per cent) to workers who had spent more than 30 years in the
university system (about 6 per cent). As would be expected, perhaps, a large
percentage of workers (almost 80 per cent) fall in between the newcomers, and
the workers whose service had been for a much longer period.
Almost 30 per cent of the respondents had not worked for more than five
years in their present universities. This percentage is about double the
corresponding percentage of respondents who had worked in higher education
during the same period. The comparison suggests some rates of staff turnover,
retirement, or new recruitment necessitated perhaps because of expansion of
universities, which makes about one-third of the academic staff relatively new in
their present institutions. In fact, almost 50 per cent of the respondents had
worked for only ten years or less in their present universities. The
corresponding figure for those who had worked in higher education during the
same period is 36 per cent. It is possible, however, that these figures would
compare favourably with similar figures of the length of service of workers
within other employment sectors, especially workers within other public sector
organisations.
Table II also shows that the majority of the respondents were lecturers (about
55 per cent) while a significant percentage were of senior lecturer rank. The
relatively few readers and professors appear to be representative of the
percentage of these top officers in the academic population. Only about 39 per
cent of the respondents were females. However, considering the estimated
proportion of females in the total population, the percentage of those who
responded to our questionnaire can certainly not be considered low.
It was observed from the results of the data analyses, that only one
respondent was less than 25 years of age. One is not sure whether this finding
suggests an ageing academic population or whether the average age of
academics tends to be slightly higher than the average age of workers in other
employment sectors. It was further observed that the percentage of respondents
who were less than 35 years old was about the same percentage of those who
were older than 55 years. Over 70 per cent of the respondents were in the 35-54
age bracket.
About 12 per cent of the respondents held managerial posts as head of
department or division, director of school, dean of faculty, provost or head of
unit, e.g. an institute or centre. The percentage of those who held other
management posts, such as year tutor, chairperson of a research group, project
co-ordinator, director of undergraduate programmes, etc. was about double the
figure of 12 per cent. Clearly, the majority of the respondents were not currently
in charge of an academic unit or group. However, it does not follow that this

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group did not have some administrative assignments, at least on occasional, if


not, on a regular basis.
Overall satisfaction with aspects of the job
Table III summarises the mean scores of respondents ratings on the
satisfaction or dissatisfaction derived from aspects of their jobs and the
percentages of respondents who were satisfied, dissatisfied, or indifferent to
aspects of their jobs. Eight aspects of the job are identified, and the mean scores
for each aspect of the job ranges from 5.09 for teaching to 3.42 for promotions.
It can be observed from the Table that there is a high correlation between the
mean scores of respondents and the percentages of respondents who were
satisfied or dissatisfied with aspects of their jobs.
The academics appear to be generally satisfied with their jobs with mean
scores in five out of eight identified aspects of the job greater than 4. More than
50 per cent of the respondents also indicated that they were satisfied with each
of the following five aspects of their jobs teaching, co-workers behaviour,
research, physical conditions/working facilities, and head of units supervision.
In fact, with teaching, the percentage of the respondents who were satisfied was
as high as about 80 per cent.
However, there are aspects of the university teachers jobs where the
respondents indicated that they were not satisfied administration and
management, present pay, and promotions. On each of these aspects of their
jobs, the mean score was less than 4. On administration and management, the
percentage of the respondents who were satisfied was about 40 while almost a
similar percentage expressed dissatisfaction. Almost one out of every four
respondents indicated indifference. This means that they were neither satisfied
nor dissatisfied with administration and management.
It would appear that university teachers are least satisfied with their present
pay and promotions. On each of these two considerations, the mean score of the

Aspect of job

Mean score

Percentage
satisfieda

Percentage
dissatisfiedb

Percentage
indifferent

Teaching
5.09
79.5
12.8
7.7
Co-workers behaviour
4.81
69.7
17.0
13.3
Research
4.66
64.8
26.6
8.6
Physical conditions/
working facilities
4.33
56.9
30.9
12.2
Head of units supervision
4.18
52.4
34.3
13.3
Administration and management 3.93
40.2
36.8
23.0
Table III.
Present
pay
3.44
29.9
54.3
15.8
Some statistics on
3.42
26.4
50.1
23.5
respondents satisfaction Promotions
or dissatisfaction with
Notes: a Incorporates respondents who were satisfied, very satisfied and extremely satisfied;
b Incorporates respondents who were dissatisfied, very dissatisfied and extremely dissatisfied
aspects of their jobs

respondents was less than 3.50. In addition, more than 50 per cent of the
respondents indicated that they were dissatisfied with their present pay and
promotions, while less than 30 per cent expressed satisfaction with each of the
two aspects of their job.
From the statistics provided on Table III, therefore, it is evident that one
needs to qualify the picture of happy workers, which general measures of job
satisfaction tend to convey (Larkin, 1990, pp. 20-4; Quinn et al., 1974). While it
would probably be true to say that university teachers appear to be generally
satisfied with their jobs, the information on Table III shows aspects of their jobs
with which they are dissatisfied. An appropriate summary would therefore,
perhaps, be that overall, university teachers enjoy only a moderately high level
of job satisfaction. However, on job satisfaction, one is not necessarily striving
for complete contentment for workers, as this may breed complacency, or
unwillingness to adjust to changing job demands.
Nevertheless, our research findings imply that overall measures of job
satisfaction should, perhaps, always be accepted with some caution, as they
may be deceptive or they may hide some important information. In addition,
while general measures of job satisfaction are very useful for comparing the
satisfaction of workers at different times, in different occupations, at different
levels of hierarchy, and in different demographic groups, they may be
problematic in providing correct estimates of absolute levels of satisfaction
(Bhana and Haffejee, 1996; Malinowska-Tabaka, 1987; Pollard, 1996; Wanous et
al., 1997).
In particular, a one sentence global measure of the degree of job satisfaction,
which has been used in some national surveys on job satisfaction (Quinn et al.,
1974), while convenient for comparability purposes, may often not give
sufficient information. In fact, our experience has shown that it is often difficult
for respondents to correctly indicate their overall measure of satisfaction or
dissatisfaction as a single statistic.
A detailed analysis and a comparison of the academics satisfaction derived
from performing core aspects of their jobs is provided on Table IV. Here, it can
be seen that although academics are generally satisfied with teaching, research,

Ranking
of job

Mean Standard Aspect


score deviation of job

t-value

5.09

1.20

Teaching versus research

5.68 p < 0.001***

Research

4.66

1.58

Teaching versus administration


and management

17.54 p < 0.001***

3.93

1.40

Research versus administration


and management

115

Result

Teaching

Administration and
management

Academics and
their managers

8.65 p < 0.001***

Note: *** the test of differences were all two-tailed probability tests and they were all
significant at 99 per cent confidence level

Table IV.
Job satisfaction
derived from core
aspects of the university
teachers job

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and to a lesser extent, administration and management, they are significantly


different in the satisfaction levels which they enjoy on these tasks. Among other
things, these findings show that academics vary widely on the extent to which
they enjoy performing major aspects of their jobs.
The academics and their managers
In order to compare the job satisfaction of academics with that of their
managers, we distinguish between the following groups in the total academic
population, namely:
(1) Respondents who were head of department or division, dean of faculty,
director of school, provost of college or institute, head of academic unit or
centre, etc. These are managers in their institutions and we designate
them as such.
(2) Respondents who indicated that they were not currently in charge of an
academic unit or group. This group is simply called the academics, or
the other academics as distinguished from the managers. The group is
analogous to the workers category in private establishments or other
employment sectors. As indicated earlier, it does not follow that this
group did not have some administrative or managerial responsibilities,
at least on an occasional, if not on a regular basis.
(3) Respondents who themselves indicated that they were in charge of an
academic unit or group not indicated in (1). These are the year tutors or
seminar co-ordinators etc. who possibly carried out regular
administrative assignments. This group could be regarded, in a sense, as
the supervisors holding, middle management positions between the
managers and the workers. There were 150 academic staff members in
this category. This finding shows that in addition to their teaching and
research functions, university teachers also carry out significant
administrative responsibilities.
The discussion in this paper is focused on the similarities and differences
between the first two groups, i.e. the academics and their managers.
The group designated as managers were 69 in total, 46 males and 23 females.
The group comprised 14 lecturers, 22 senior lecturers, six readers, 25
professors, and two others. The average age of this group was 54, and their
average length of service in higher education was 20 years. The modal rank of
this group was professor, while the median rank was senior lecturer. The mean
rank was closer to reader than to senior lecturer.
The academics who indicated that they did not currently hold administrative
positions total 347. Of this number, 211 were males and 136 were females. There
were 219 lecturers, 100 senior lecturers, 13 readers, 13 professors, and two
others. On average, their length of service in higher education was 15 years and
their age was 48. In rank, their mean was closer to lecturer than senior lecturer
while their modal and median rank was lecturer.

Similarities and differences in job satisfaction levels


Comparative data on academics and their managers are provided on Table V.
The Table shows, among other things, the percentages of academics and their
managers who were satisfied with the various aspects of their jobs, the mean
scores of the academics and their managers, showing the ratings on aspects of
their jobs, and a significance test of differences between the mean scores of the
academics and their managers.
From the Table, it can be seen very clearly that, without any exception, the
mean scores recorded by the managers were higher than the corresponding
mean scores recorded by the other academics on all aspects of their jobs.
Similarly, with only one very minor exception, the percentages of the academics
who were satisfied with all aspects of their jobs were lower than the
corresponding percentages of the managers who were satisfied with various
aspects of their jobs. (See Table V.)
One conclusion from Table V, therefore, is that, in general, academics are less
satisfied with their jobs compared with their managers. Stated differently,
managers in academic institutions, such as the director of a school, or the head
of an academic department, are more satisfied with their jobs than the other
academics who do not hold similar or comparable managerial positions. It is,
however, useful to examine the test of statistical differences provided in Table V
to see the aspects of their job where the recorded differences between the
academics and their managers are significant.
A look at Table V will show that there are five out of eight aspects of the
university teachers job, where significant statistical differences exist between
the mean scores of the academics and their managers. It is interesting to know
that the managers in academic institutions derive more satisfaction from
teaching than the other academics, although it is probable that the managers do
not teach for as many hours as the other academics. Perhaps, the explanation is

Aspect of job

Academics and
their managers

117

Percentage satisfied
Mean scores
Managers Academics Managers Academics t-value Result

Teaching
Co-workers behaviour
Research
Physical conditions/
working facilities
Heads of units supervision
Administration and
management
Promotions
Present pay

89.5
79.7
64.2

75.6
68.8
64.6

5.49
5.12
4.79

4.98
4.78
4.63

3.59 p < 0.001***


2.20 p < 0.05*
0.70 n.s.

64.0
64.8

49.4
57.0

4.72
4.69

4.04
4.29

3.27 p < 0.01**


2.08 p < 0.05*

48.6
44.6
33.8

38.3
24.2
28.8

4.25
4.05
3.52

3.91
3.28
3.40

1.77 n.s.
3.83 p < 0.001***
Table V.
0.53 n.s.
Comparison of academics
Notes:
and their managers on
* = significant at 95 per cent confidence level; ** significant at 99 per cent confidence level;
some aspects of their job
*** = significant at 99.9 per cent confidence level
satisfaction

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that, over the years, managers in academic institutions have taught for a longer
period of time and they have acquired greater teaching skills and experience
which enable them to derive greater job satisfaction from teaching. Or perhaps
they teach at a different level, e.g. postgraduate or final year undergraduate as
opposed to the first years.
The managers also derive more satisfaction from promotions in their various
institutions compared with the other academics. This finding is not really
surprising. Most managers in academic institutions are professors and readers
who have benefited from the promotion processes, and they would, therefore, be
expected to derive a great deal of job satisfaction from that aspect of their job.
In fact, our data reveal that compared with the managers, the percentage of the
other academics who were satisfied with their promotions was only slightly
more than half.
Regarding the head of units supervision, significant statistical differences
also exist in the comparison of the academics and their managers in the level of
their satisfaction on this aspect of their job. Actually, the managers, who by
virtue of their positions experience the problems of leadership would, perhaps,
tend to be more sympathetic to, and therefore satisfied with the supervision of
other managers.
This explanation may also account for the significantly higher job
satisfaction which the managers derived from the physical conditions/working
facilities in their institutions when compared with the feeling of the other
academics. Leaders plan the operational details of their units, execute their
budgets, and manage their staff, among other responsibilities. Exposure to the
practical realities of meeting objectives, realising targets, motivating staff etc.
may have beneficial effects in assisting managers to appreciate realities better.
Such an appreciation may serve to increase the level of job satisfaction which
they derive from the physical conditions/working facilities which exist in their
universities. On the other hand, it might be argued that the managers enjoy the
privileges of their appointments big offices, control of organisational affairs,
etc.
The job satisfaction derived from co-workers behaviour is the other aspect of
their job where significant differences existed between the mean scores of the
managers in academic institutions and the other academics. Managers in
academic institutions, perhaps like other managers, depend very much on their
co-workers co-operation and positive attitudes to get their units function
accomplished. Since managers in academia generally get co-operation from
most of their colleagues, it is hypothesised that this aspect of their job would
tend to give them more job satisfaction compared with the other academics who
do not hold similar managerial posts. It should be pointed out that, although
there is some measure of interdependence in performing academic
responsibilities as a whole, some academics who are not managers may and do
exhibit some level of independence in executing their functions. Such academics
may, therefore, not derive much job satisfaction from colleagues co-operation

as a manager would. Academics as a group tend to be individuals rather than


team players and so may not fully co-operate.
There were three aspects of their jobs where the statistical test of differences
between the mean scores of the academics and their managers did not prove
significant research, present pay, and administration and management.
It is interesting to note that the managers in academia did not derive
significantly greater satisfaction from research when compared with the other
academics. It is interesting because it was success at research activity, in many
cases, which saw them elected or appointed as managers in the first instance.
However, as managers, many people no longer have the time for research
activities and therefore, their level of satisfaction from research may be lower
than what it was before they became managers. This would be because they
perform fewer research activities as managers, and they enjoy fewer of the
tangible and intangible benefits of research.
We do not suggest, however, that managers in academic institutions are
necessarily better researchers than the other academics who may not hold
managerial posts. In fact, some academics, if they can avoid it, would not accept
a management or a leadership position because of their commitment to research
excellence. In a prior study, for example, Oshagbemi found that British
managers in academic institutions were not particularly motivated towards
management (Oshagbemi, 1988, pp. 164-5), and that many of them accepted
their management positions as the cost of holding chairs. Such a tendency is
explained by Amitai Etzioni who states that, most successful professionals are
not motivated to become administrators, and that it is those who feel that they
have little chance of becoming outstanding professionals in their fields who
tend to gravitate towards administrative and managerial jobs (Etzioni, 1964, p.
83).
On the other hand, academics who were not currently holding management
positions, did not derive a greater level of satisfaction from research compared
with their managers. What seems significant is that the mean scores from this
aspect of their jobs were relatively high for both groups, signifying that
academics and their managers derive a high level of satisfaction from research.
There was no significant difference between the mean scores of the
academics and their managers on their present pay. Both groups of workers
were about equally dissatisfied with this aspect of their jobs. Unlike in private
industries, holding managerial posts within academia is not well remunerated.
The allowances often attached to these posts are really very small compared
with the responsibilities which office holders are asked to shoulder. Perhaps,
this is why, in the past, or in some universities, one of the costs of holding a
chair is having to assume administrative responsibilities for the particular
academic unit!
It may be instructive to know that some universities are reportedly
appointing some professional managers and subordinating professors under
them (Eggins, 1994, p. 3). Yet, there are some management tasks, such as
postgraduate admissions, the management of research activity, and the

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recruitment of senior academics, which seem best performed by academics. It


would therefore appear that, in many cases, what may be required is
management training for managers in academic institutions instead of sidelining them.
Both academics and their managers did not rate the satisfaction derived from
administration and management highly and there was no significant difference
in the mean scores on that aspect of their jobs. Perhaps, more people should be
allowed to indicate their interest in managerial posts rather than thrusting such
posts on professors as the cost of holding chairs. If appointment of managers in
academic institutions on the basis of expressed individual choice and suitability
were the general practice, perhaps more managers may derive significantly
greater satisfaction from performing the task which they like when compared
with the other academics. This may be the case especially if the managers in
academic institutions espouse management training designed to increase their
productivity and effectiveness on this task. At present, it would not appear that
this is the practice. However, even when some academics volunteer to take on
some administrative responsibilities, one is not sure whether they are doing
such jobs because they are interested or because they want to boost their
salaries with which they are dissatisfied.
It is illuminating to explore the reasons for the differences in the level of job
satisfaction between the academics and their managers (see Table V). We
examined the socio-demographic characteristics of the two groups closely, and
found the following:
Length of service in higher education the managers had served, on the
average, for 20 years while the other academics had only served, on the
average, for 15 years. This difference was statistically significant at the
p < 0.001 level.
Age the age of the managers was, on average, 54 years while the other
academics, on average, were 48 years old. Again, this difference was
significant at the p < 0.001 level.
Sex there was no significant difference in the proportion of
males/females in the two groups. In the managers group, the proportion
of females was 0.33333, while the corresponding figure for the other
academics was 0.39193.
Rank the modal rank in the group of the managers was professor, while
the modal rank in the other group was lecturer. The difference in rank
was significant at the p < 0.001 level.
The managers in academic institutions, therefore, appear to be a sub-group of
their own with differences in their age, rank, length of service in higher
education, and management position, when compared with the other
academics. Our conclusion, therefore, is that management position,
characterised by seniority in age, rank, and length of service, affects university
teachers level of job satisfaction positively. This conclusion is consistent with

some research findings (Forgionne and Peeters, 1982, p. 104; Mottaz, 1986, p.
364; Quinn et al., 1974, p. 9) which suggest that managers, on the whole, tend to
enjoy greater job satisfaction than workers.
We should, perhaps, state that so far, our analyses have only established that
together, the identified socio-demographic factors affect the level of a workers
job satisfaction. It would still be necessary and useful to establish whether these
factors, individually, constitute important determinants of job satisfaction, at
least within academia. For example, in prior research, it was found that rank
has a direct, positive and significant effect on the job satisfaction of university
teachers (Oshagbemi, 1997b). In addition, although gender by itself is not
significantly related to job satisfaction, it is significant when compared together
with the rank of university teachers (Oshagbemi, 1997b).
It should be observed that age, length of service in the organisation, and
seniority or rank, are three time-related concepts associated with job
satisfaction (Eichar et al., 1991; Miles et al., 1996; Mottaz, 1987; Orpen, 1995;
Ronen, 1978; Tamayo, 1996). This study of academics and their managers has
shown, at least, the group relevance of the variables in affecting the level of job
satisfaction.
Summary and conclusions
The results of our survey show that managers in universities exhibited similar
characteristics to other academics in the satisfaction or dissatisfaction which
they derived from some aspects of their jobs. The aspects of their jobs where
there were no significant differences between the mean scores of the academics
and their managers are: administration and management, research, and present
pay.
In contrast, the two groups showed significant differences in the level of job
satisfaction which they derived from the following aspects of their jobs:
teaching, co-workers behaviour, head of units behaviour, physical conditions/
working facilities, and promotions. Since, without exception, the mean scores
obtained by the managers in all aspects of their jobs were higher than the mean
scores in the corresponding aspects of the other academics jobs, and since
significant differences exist in the majority of these mean differences, we
conclude that overall, managers in academic institutions derive greater job
satisfaction from their jobs than the other academics. Even when academics and
their managers were both dissatisfied with aspects of their jobs, such as present
pay, the managers were less dissatisfied compared with the other academics.
In offering possible explanations for the results of the research, it is
important to note that the observed differences between managers and the other
academics is not because managers perform administration and management,
or engage in any other task for that matter, but because of the characteristics of
the group as a whole. In fact, it would be recalled that in our study, there were
no significant differences between the academics and their managers on the
satisfaction they enjoyed from administrative and managerial responsibilities.

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Personnel
Review
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122

One of the implications of our findings is that since managers in academia


appear to be significantly different from the other academics in a number of
considerations, it would be useful for universities to continue to involve
academic groups such as school boards or departments in major policy or
organisational decisions instead of relying totally on the suggestions of their
managers alone. This means that academic policy in higher education should
continue to be democratised and academics continue to be given opportunity
and respect for their very useful inputs into the decision-making processes in
universities. In that way academic policies and practices would tend to reflect
the views of the academia as a group and not just the views of their managers
who appear to be a different group from the other academics.
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