Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Faculty Workplace Issues: Findings from the 2009-2010 COD-COF Joint Task Force on Faculty Workforce

Academic journal article American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education

Pharmacy Faculty Workplace Issues: Findings from the 2009-2010 COD-COF Joint Task Force on Faculty Workforce

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

The 2009-2010 AACP Council of Deans-Council of Faculties Joint Task Force on Faculty Workforce was assigned 2 primary charges. This paper reports the findings from execution of one of those charges, which was to identify mechanisms, resources, and policies that could be developed and implemented within colleges and schools of pharmacy that would enhance the quality of work life of faculty members. Previous studies and task force reports (1,2) proffer seemingly reasonable and prudent ideas in this area; however, many questions remain unanswered, and there is a critical need for further study in this area, especially in pharmacy, but even in the broader arena of higher education.

There are many ways to approach the multidimensional constructs governing the quality of faculty work life. Much has been written on it and related concepts, such as work satisfaction, stress, burnout, work-home balance, commitment, collegiality, organizational citizenship behaviors, and turnover. The large amount of available literature is both a boon and a hurdle to researchers and to administrators looking for guidance. It is relatively easy to find solutions to specific questions, but difficult to approach larger problems whose interdependence still is not fully comprehended. Nonetheless, members of the task force examined a sizeable portion of the literature to identify 4 areas in which to focus its recommendations: organizational culture/climate, role of the department chair, faculty recruitment and retention, and faculty mentoring. Additionally, critical themes related to faculty gender, cultural issues, and generational dynamics, (3) are highlighted and interwoven throughout discussion of the 4 central themes of this report.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND CLIMATE

Poor relationships with administrators and/or colleagues often have been cited by faculty members as reasons to leave an academic organization or to leave academia altogether. (4-7) The culture and climate of an organization also has implications for its faculty's demonstration of good organizational citizenship behaviors, general outlook, role strain, stress, creativity, vitality, and commitment. (8-10) The terms culture and climate often are used interchangeably; however, they have different meanings. The most basic definition of culture offered and frequently cited is "the way we do things around here." (11) On the other hand, climate has been described as a relatively enduring characteristic of an organization distinguishing it from other organizations that embodies members' collective perceptions about the organization, is produced by member interactions, and acts as a source of influence for shaping behavior. (12) Verbeke, Volgering, and Hessels define climate as a reflection of the way people perceive and come to describe the characteristics of their environment. (13) So, while the 2 concepts are unique, they are highly related, and this paper treats the 2 not as undifferentiated, but rather, as concepts that can be addressed simultaneously with proper study and action taken by colleagues and administrators.

Froh described how a college climate can help maximize faculty effectiveness, making use of intrinsic rewards of academic work to improve its quality and reach new levels of understanding. (14) This would appear in sync with contemporary views of faculty members as "knowledge workers." As knowledge workers, faculty members often choose a career in academia based at least in part on the desire to become engaged in challenging, yet rewarding aspects of the job, (15) which intersects their need to make important contributions and see the value in their work. Drucker explained that workers in the 1950s were told what to contribute to an organization. (15) Creating an environment wherein faculty members feel safe to question the interface of their values with those of the organization will result in more engagement and will help to align their activities so they are more consistent with the organization's core mission and values. …

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