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Call for Papers: Rhythms of Academic Life: Frost and Taylor 20 Years On

Call for Papers

Academy of Management Learning & Education

Special Issue


Publication Date June, 2019

Guest Editors: 

Jon Billsberry, Deakin University

Michael Cohen, Deakin University

Tine Köhler, University of Melbourne

Micheal Stratton, University of North Carolina Asheville

Susan Taylor, University of Maryland at College Park

About 20 years ago, the seminal text on this subject was published, Rhythms of Academic Life (Frost & Taylor, 1996). More than 50 management scholars published personal reflections on a broad range of career-related issues in this volume. In their concluding commentary, Frost and Taylor (1996: 485) say that being an academic, "is a privileged life, but also a challenging one." Today the buzz at conferences and in the hallways of business schools is that this balance has been lost, and that the scales tipped too far in the challenging direction. Frost and Taylor (1996: 486) continue, "Doubtless we will need to reexamine the rhythms of academic life anew in the future." Given the far-reaching changes that have taken place in the past 20 years, the time has come for this reexamination.

Many management academics would agree: Working life in Business Schools has changed greatly over the last couple of decades (Miller, Taylor, & Bedeian, 2011). Indeed, most would say that the pace of change is increasing. Like other professions, globalization and technological innovation have strongly affected academia. Today scholars from around the world vie for publications in the top journals in the field, apply for academic jobs in countries other than their home country, and are evaluated for promotion and tenure not just against peers in their own university or country but against academics globally. Academic staff are expected to build global networks, innovate in their teaching, collaborate with researchers around the world, engage in activities and services to professional associations beyond their local communities, engage in the commercial world (Perkmann et al., 2013), and contribute to a global academic community. In many universities traditional values of collegiality are breaking down under the weight of managerialist cultures where almost all activity is assessed for quality, quantity, and impact (Aguinis, Shapiro, Antonacopoulou, & Cummings, 2014; Starbuck, 2005; White, Carvalho, & Riordan, 2011; Winter, 2009). Students are now often considered customers, both by universities and themselves, bringing a new category of pressure which includes management academics competing amongst themselves for students to enroll in their courses (Finney & Finney, 2010; Franz, 1998). All in all, life as an academic has become more stressful, competitive, uncertain, ambiguous, and sometimes overwhelming, while at the same time competition for resources has intensified.

On the flipside, academics now have many more opportunities to engage with the larger academic community around the world. Information about journals and conferences is more easily available and there is much greater clarity about the perceived quality of publication outlets (Adler & Harzing, 2009; Hussain, 2015). Professional associations, conference organizers, and departments provide different forms of training and support for the writing of journal publications, making the publication process much less mysterious than a few decades ago. Most management academics now have PhDs and possess the research training that accompanies the qualification. Job and other opportunities are widely disseminated and interviewing people on the other side of the world televisually is now the norm. Gone are the days when changing employers was seen as a stain on a CV, and there is now an open job market for management academic staff, with publications and research funding being the main currency.

We work in changing times with no great certainty about the future of our roles. The rhythm of our jobs seems markedly different to just a few years ago.

The purpose of this special issue is to explore the ways in which management academic jobs and careers are changing, the reasons for these changes, and the impact that these changes will have in the future. We want to explore these matters theoretically and empirically, and to encourage perspectives from different philosophies, designs, and approaches. Consequently, we encourage both conceptual and empirical submissions that address the jobs and careers of management educators and have no preconceptions about suitable ontologies or epistemologies.

While Rhythms of Academic Life was purposely built around "academics' own account of their personal experiences" (Whetten, 1996, p. xv) and consisted of essays and opinion pieces, we welcome submissions to all sections of the journal, i.e., Research and Reviews, Essays, Dialogues and Interviews, and Resource Reviews. We especially encourage empirical examinations and conceptual papers that examine the theoretical underpinnings of academic careers. As Bedeian (1996, p. 3) in his chapter in Rhythms of Academic Life pointed out, "[…] the scientific databases dealing with academic career success are quite limited." In this special issue, we would like to fill this void with inspired and focused research. To reiterate, while many of the chapters in Rhythms of Academic Life contained personal stories, that format is unlikely to work well in this Special Issue and we encourage prospective contributors to use one of the formats traditionally found in AMLE.

In addition, we look forward to receiving submissions of insightful essays, dialogues, and interviews. We also envision some pieces that will extend the content of Rhythms of Academic Life by using a stronger international lens, focusing more on the impact that globalization and technological advancements had over the past two decades, and providing outlooks as to the likely developments for academic careers for the next 20 years.

Where prospective contributors are considering interviews, exemplary contributions, or reviews, we request that you contact the guest editorial team to ensure that you are not duplicating the work of others. We would like to hear from people who would be interested in reviewing books and other resources (such as films, academic collaboration tools, etc.) on the topic of academic careers.

Some research questions and issues that prospective contributors might address, among many others, are:

  • Have the careers of management academics changed? If so, how? Are these changes different to changes in other disciplines? Are they different for different types of staff? Are the changes different in different regions of the world? What are the underlying reasons for these differences? Extrapolating from these differences in change, what can be expected for the future of a global management academic community?
  • How does global competition for academic jobs, publication space in the top journals, seats on editorial boards, and the like impact on an individual academic's career? Has the field seen a convergence or diversification of research approaches and standards for research output that are beneficial or detrimental to the creation of scientific knowledge? How has the fact that English has become the main language of academia changed academic careers?
  • What are the knowledge, skills, and other abilities (KSAs) required for a successful academic career? Has this changed and, if so, how? Do these KSAs change during different phases of an academic career?
  • Are particular inter-individual differences (such as personalities or personality types, cognitive-processing styles, types of motivations and motives) more conducive to an academic career than others? Do particular or similar types or styles suit the different functions of teaching, research, and service?
  • Is an academic career a vocation? To what extent is teaching the core activity?
  • How have new delivery methods, such as technology-enabled teaching, or teaching in highly diverse classrooms, influenced academic jobs?
  • How does the fact that many universities now operate satellite campuses in other counties influence management academic jobs and careers?
  • What is the impact on academic careers of the 'customerization' of students?
  • Have the jobs of management academics become more stressful or unhealthy? If so, how? How do the stress levels of management academics compare to people in other jobs? What are business schools and universities doing to reduce or manage stress? What are implications for work-life balance, job satisfaction, life satisfaction, physical and mental health, organizational commitment, and other well-being related concepts?
  • How do management academics apportion their time between the key functions of teaching, research, and service? Has this changed? If so, why? How should management academics balance teaching, research, and service in their roles? How has the administrative nature of the job changed?
  • What has been the impact of faster technologies and greater connectedness on academic jobs?
  • How have changes in academic careers and the larger academic context contributed to some of the biggest challenges we have seen lately, such as issues with research ethics (e.g., plagiarism, falsification of data, misuse of research methods, coercive citation practices) or larger numbers of casual and unemployed academics (e.g., post PhD graduation)? How can we resolve some of these issues?
  • How have academic appointment contracts changed? What impact does this have upon academic careers? For example, there are now fewer tenure-track positions for which a larger number of applicants vie, higher expectations for output, and an increased use of fixed-term contracts. What impact is this situation going to have on academics, students, and business schools?
  • How do graduate students and junior faculty view their careers? How and to what extent are they effectively socialized into an academic career?
  • To what extent do management academics still have 'academic freedom'?
  • What is 'impact' over the course of one's career? How can management academics achieve and demonstrate it?
  • Does external service help an academic career? If so, how? What is the impact of service roles on management academic careers?
  • Do editor and associate editor roles for journals help or hinder academic careers? Are there different ways to approach these roles to change the impact they have? How do business schools support management academics in these roles? 
  • What does academic leadership look like today? What does academic leadership need to look like in the future so that our profession can manage its biggest challenges?
  • What role, if any, has the emergence and importance of accreditation of business schools had on academic careers? Has the focus of business schools changed with increasing importance of accreditation? If it has, how have these dynamics influenced academic careers?
  • What advice should we be giving current and aspiring (e.g., PhD students) management academics about how to prepare themselves for the future? Are our training approaches for PhD students still on par with the current and future requirements of an academic career? If not, how should we change our PhD training?
  • What are the opportunities that come out of today's academic landscape? What are exciting developments?
  • How are careers changed when academics move from research-based to teaching-based institutions? What are the causes/consequences of such shifts? Is movement in the opposite direction possible?

Submissions should be received by September 1st, 2017, and should adhere to the "Style and Format" guide for authors that can be found at Manuscripts should be submitted at, and designated under Manuscript Type as "Special Issue on Academic Careers". Pre-submission discussion of and consultation on potential submission ideas and topics are also welcome. For further information, please contact the lead guest editor, Jon Billsberry, at

All submissions will be subject to a rigorous, double-blind, peer-review process.

Manuscripts should be submitted by September 1, 2017.



Adler, N. J., & Harzing, A.-W. 2009. When knowledge wins: Transcending the sense of and nonsense of academic rankings. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 8(1): 72-95.

Aguinis, H., Shapiro, D.L., Antonacopoulou, E.P., & Cummings, T.G. 2014. Scholarly impact: A pluralist conceptualization. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 13(4): 623-639.

Bedeian, A. G. 1996. Lessons learned along the way: Twelve suggestions for optimizing career success. In P.J. Frost & M.S. Taylor (Eds.), Rhythms of Academic Life: Personal Accounts of Careers in Academia: 3-9. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Finney, T.G., & Finney, R.Z. 2010. Are students their universities' customers? An exploratory study. Education + Training, 52: 276-291.

Franz, R.S. 1998. Whatever you do, don't treat your students like customers! Journal of Management Education, 22: 63-69.

Frost, P.J., & Taylor, M.S. 1996. Commentary. In P.J. Frost, & M.S. Taylor (Eds.), Rhythms of Academic Life: Personal Accounts of Careers in Academia: 485-496. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Frost, P.J., & Taylor, M.S. (Eds.) 1996. Rhythms of Academic Life: Personal Accounts of Careers in Academia. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hussain, S. 2015. Journal list fetishism and the 'sign of 4' in the ABS guide: A question of trust? Organization, 22(1): 119-138.

Miller, A.N., Taylor, S.G., & Bedeian, A.G. 2011. Publish or perish: academic life as management faculty live it. Career Development International, 16(5): 422-445.

Perkmann, M., Tartari, V., McKelvey, M., Autio, E., Broström, A., D'Este, P., ..., & Sobrero, M. 2013. Academic engagement and commercialisation: A review of the literature on university-industry relations. Research Policy, 42(2): 423-442.

Starbuck, W.H. 2005. How much better are the most prestigious journals? The statistics of academic publication. Organization Science, 16: 180-200.

Whetten, D. A. 1996. Introduction to the series. In P.J. Frost & M.S. Taylor (Eds.), Rhythms of Academic Life: Personal Accounts of Careers in Academia: xi-xii. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

White, K., Carvalho, T., & Riordan, S. 2011. Gender, power and managerialism in universities. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 33: 179-188.

Winter, R. 2009. Academic manager or managed academic? Academic identity schisms in higher education. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 31: 121-131.

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