Posted in Policy

Study: Universities have poor personnel policies.

A recent study conducted by Barbara van Balen (Rathenau Institute) concludes an academic career especially relies on coincidence and good or bad luck. The personnel policy of university appears to be absent or unclear while promises are not always kept by the employer.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

(Rotterdam) – A study by Rathenau Institute reveals universities are very clumsy when it comes to personnel policies and career possibilities. As elsewhere career opportunities rely on coincidence and luck, but head researcher Barbara van Balen states the personnel policy at universities is messier than elsewhere. She interviewed 21 academic talents that were retained by a university and another 21 that left their academic career to find their luck elsewhere.

No typical reason was find why some talents have succeeded at a university, while others had to find a career somewhere else. Both groups were very well capable to pursue a career in academics. An academics can meet a good promotor and become successful, while someone who didn’t encountered set-back after set-back.

Furthermore, personnel policy is revealed to be doubtful because promises are tended to broken after a power-switch: when the boss leaves, old promises are soon forgotten. Most often this is the case when more powerful people leave, like a dean. This phenomenon proves there is a lack of continuity when it comes to policy-making and execution. This makes it difficult to plan an academic career as the individual has to commit to different side-lines instead of a permanent position. This causes individual to doubt a stable future and often try to find that future elsewhere. Universities on the other hand don’t like the thought of permanent positions, because it makes it difficult and furthermore expensive to ‘get rid’ of an individual.

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