Different concerns for different careers: doctoral student career trajectories toward and away from the research professorship

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Research has revealed that familial concerns and obligations do impact the career decision making of people who shift their career goal away from the research academy and towards careers that

Research has revealed that familial concerns and obligations do impact the career decision making of people who shift their career goal away from the research academy and towards careers that are perceived as less intensive in terms of time and productivity demands. However, this same research line does not explain whether or not those who persist in a research professorship career aspiration experience the same familial concerns and obligations as those who shift or compromise on that goal. In line with the theory of circumscription and compromise (TCC), the current study examined specific accessibility concerns, or perceptions of barriers associated with implementing a preferred career, that contribute to doctoral student career decision making. More specifically, two groups including those who shifted their career path away from the research professorship (compromisers) and those whose career paths remain geared towards the research professorship (persisters) were examined by multivariate analysis of variance with a covariate (MANCOVA) to determine how accessibility concerns differ according to group membership. Accessibility concerns were also examined for gender differences. Results from multivariate and between-subjects follow up tests point to significant differences between the two groups on two accessibility concerns, planning for a career and family and some components of work-time flexibility preferences. Compromisers reported significantly higher preferences for work-time flexibility and scored higher on the planning for a career and a family measure when compared to persisters. No gender differences in accessibility concerns were found but female persisters were less likely than male persisters to indicate plans for children/presence of children. This study provides support for the TCC as applied to doctoral student career development and provides evidence that doctoral student persisters and compromisers do not experience accessibility concerns in the same way.