Academic retention at Iowa State University: a study of the organizational environment and gender differences

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Padgitt, Janet
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Larry H. Ebbers
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This investigation focuses on retention as it is related to the organizational environment and socialization; gender equity in these areas; and factors affecting retention decisions. A questionnaire was sent to probationary faculty, faculty who had received tenure within the last three years, female full professors, and a sample of male full professors at Iowa State University. The response rate was 58 percent;Retention was measured by asking whether respondents preferred to work here or elsewhere and whether they were planning to stay, considering leaving, or actively seeking another position. Organizational environment measures include assessments of working conditions, the opportunity structure, support systems, communication, integration into professional activities, and evaluation. Socialization measures include congruity in actual and ideal role assignment, role clarity, role ambiguity, and self-confidence;Organizational factors related to retention were satisfaction with working conditions and support systems; frequency of informal feedback; equity relative to colleagues; likelihood of attaining goals; and importance of teaching/service criteria in evaluation. Retention was also related to role congruity in research; role clarity and ambiguity; and self-confidence relative to success in a university career. Ora variables accurately predict institutional preference using discriminant analysis, though the predictive model varies by subject group;Compared to men, women serve on more committees; collaborate less; have larger enrollments; are less satisfied with salary, prospects for advancement, and job security; perceive less support for women; report less role congruity in research and administrative work, less self-confidence compared to success in an academic career, and higher role ambiguity; and are more likely to believe evaluation depends too much on research but less likely to believe they can attain goals;Factors affecting retention decisions include salary/benefit package, caliber of administrators, intellectual stimulation, and the community. While there were similarities in the factors men and women consider to be important, there were also differences. Thus, assessing the environment for its effect on women and on retention has value.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 1989