Cover image for The academic marketplace
The academic marketplace
Caplow, Theodore.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New Brunswick, NJ : Transaction Publishers, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxv, 262 pages ; 23 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


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LB1778 .C3 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"This volume is a must for anyone interested in academic problems and will produce the emotion of recognition in those concerned, and the emotion of surprise in those outside the field."-Los Angeles Times "Professors Caplow and McGee have given scholarly respectability to what many a professor has long suspected: Competition in the academic marketplace is as severe as in the business world. [Their book] might come to have the same function for the professor as Machiavelli's work had for ambitious princes."-Midwest Journal of Political Science The Academic Marketplace is a straightforward, hard-hitting exposu of the American university. Caplow and McGee consider all the working parts of the system and assess their suitability to the professed purpose. Their report on the actualities, myths, and consequences of routines thus amounts to an anatomy of an institution-an anatomy that does not present a pretty picture. We learn, for example, that the chief criteria used in making appointments are prestige and compatibility, not teaching ability. The authors describe the precipitous decline in teaching loads and then explain how this tendency is related to the new seller's market, on the one hand, and to the extravagantly indeterminate structure of the university as an institution, on the other. Not only is the temper judicious, the facts well gathered and competently marshaled, but the expression of results is invariably lucid. In a new introduction, the authors sort out fact from legend and discern trends, they address the validity of their own research methods and the applicability of their original findings to today's academic marketplace. They observe that the essential commodity offered in the academic marketplace is still the same-the mysterious intangible called prestige, by which universities, colleges, departments, disciplines, fields of inquiry, journals, and ultimately faculty candidates are ranked from high to low, and raised up and cast down accordingly.

Author Notes

Theodore Caplow is Commonwealth Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the 2001 editionp. vii
Forewordp. xxiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xxvi
1. The Backgroundp. 3
Reasons for Research
Some Prior Perspectives
"The Groves of Academe"
Previous Research
2. The Problem and the Methodp. 26
The Unit of Study
The Sample
The Interview Schedule
Entree and Acceptance
Coding and Tabulation
3. How the Vacancies Occurp. 40
Mobility and Academic Rank
Mobility and Age
Mobility and Institutional Prestige
Involuntary Termination
Voluntary Termination
The Lure of Money
Information Screens
After Departure
Collaboration and Isolation
The Outside Offer
A Theoretical Digression
Hazards of Interaction
4. How Performance Is Evaluatedp. 81
"Publish or Perish"
The Career Curve
Labels and Markings
5. The Strategy of the Departmentp. 94
Offers and Counter-offers
The Matter of Salary
The Impact of Departure
The Department's Prestige
The Grapevine
Prestige Exchanges
6. Procedures of Recruitmentp. 109
Open and Closed Hiring
The Process in Practice
Festina Lente
Some Recruiting Agents
Hiring Procedures in Perspective
The Merits of Candidates
The Decision-making Procedure
Hazards of the Market
Signing and Sealing
7. Patterns of Choicep. 138
The Rules of Budgeting
The Specification of Duties
The Decline of Teaching
Motives for Migration
Supplementary Opportunities
8. Selecting the Replacementp. 158
Who Is the Fairest?
Supply and Demand
The Impact of Replacements
Personnel Poker
Seniority and Merit
9. Academic Government and the Personnel Processp. 182
Who Participates in Faculty Recruiting?
Some Perspectives on Participation
Stresses Within Departments
Stresses Between Department Members and Chairmen
Stresses Between Deans and Departments
Stresses Between Deans and Higher Administration
The Resolution of Stresses
Some Observations on Power in Universities
10. Current Trends in the Marketplacep. 209
11. Discussion and Recommendationsp. 219
Problems of the Individual Scholar
Problems of the University Administration
Indexp. 257