9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN10 Sociology of Education

2009-09-03 13:30:00 2009-09-03 15:00:00 Thursday, 3 September 13:30 - 15:00 Higher Education I Building I, 2E6

Hiring from within: institutional inbreeding and its consequences at Russian universities (empirical evidence from Saint-Petersburg universities)

Among various faculty employment policies in universities two polar modes could be distinguished. The first is hiring at external academic labor market. The second is a strategy of hiring ?from within? ? attaching academically oriented students to university, ?bringing up? students to entry-level teachers, hiring university?s own graduates. Such hiring practices are commonly known as inbreeding.

Different strategies of reproduction of faculty are interesting not only in itself but also for their effects on local university norms and standards and individual faculty careers. There are a large number of studies which focus on inbreeding consequences (Eels and Cleveland 1935, Hargens and Farr 1973, Eisenberg and Wells 2000, etc.). While extensive empirical evidence shows that inbreeding negatively affect faculty promotion, academic productivity and professional recognition, inbreeding is widely accepted in some national academic systems.

Our paper considers an inbreeding phenomenon at Russian universities. We use data of a 2007 survey of faculty working at 28 St.Petersburg higher education institutions which have undergraduate programs in economics, to estimate the impact of inbreeding on faculty?s individual careers, publication strategies, structure of social contacts.

We found that inbreeding is considered as normal practice by faculty members. Chair heads also suggest that university should hire their own graduates at the first place. It should be mentioned, that this group?s opinion is of particular importance as heads can form an employment politics by themselves and play as gatekeepers. Results of our study demonstrate that the most common type of published work is a publication in non-refereed journals published by this university. ?Insiders? (low-mobile faculty who work at the same university since graduation) publish in local journals more often than ?outsiders? and less often in Russian-wide academic journals. Professional communication of insiders basically is taken place in a circle of their close colleagues ? research mentor, chair and chair colleagues, and less often insiders communicate with colleagues outside their university. We also demonstrate (that is consistent with previous findings in the field) a significant difference in effort and time allocation between teaching, research and services for insiders and outsiders.