Faculty research following merger: a job stress and social identity theory perspective
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With conflicting public pressure for greater access to higher education and budget reductions and with continuing backlash over increasing tuition and skyrocketing student debt, public universities have intensified efforts to improve organizational efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. One strategic option is merging institutions of higher education to better utilize resources, reap cost savings, and increase scholarly outputs. Mergers and acquisitions more commonly occur in the business domain and analysis specific to the higher education arena is limited to this point. Our research examines the effects of university merger on knowledge production in the form of faculty scholarly productivity. We use results of a continuing study of merger of two state-funded higher education institutions, with quite different organizational cultures and research orientations, to explore merger impacts. Using the extensive prior literature on job stress and associated person–organization fit, as well as social identity theory, we develop a model of predictors of post-merger research time allocation and associated productivity. We find lingering effects of pre-merger institutional affiliation, particularly for the low status university faculty, on post-merger job stress, organizational fit, and resulting research productivity. The results of our study advance practical approaches to mergers in higher education for policy makers and managers of higher education.
KeywordsFaculty research productivity Higher education Public policy Social identity theory
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