Contextual management: intra-institutional variation in contingent faculty management

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University of New Brunswick


Contingent Faculty have no long-term commitment from their institution. Their working conditions have been studied for over 60 years. Few studies, over this same period, examine management's perspective of the processes that create the contingent faculty working conditions. The purpose of this study is to examine the contingent faculty management processes from the administrators' perspective. Using grounded theory methods, I selected and interviewed 17 participants including six department chairs, four faculty deans, three directors, two administrative assistants, one program coordinator, and one acting dean from one university. The result of this study is the contingent faculty management process variation model. At the core of this model are the variations in management processes among the faculties and departments in this study. Contributing to these variations are contextual elements, including lack of administrator training, the short-term nature administrators' position, administrator isolation, and frustration. There are also elements that mitigate variations in management processes including central control of processes and centralized training. These variations have implications for the institution, the administrators, and contingent faculty. Implications include ensuring human resource practices adhere to legal guidelines, understanding the source of some variations is the interpretation of the collective agreement, and making sure that any implementation of new practices or processes is supported by a sustained training effort.