The three essays in this dissertation each examine how aspects of contemporary administrative structure within American research universities affect faculty outcomes. Specific aspects of administrative structure tested in this dissertation include the introduction of new administrative roles, administrative intensity (i.e. relative size of university administration), and competing roles between faculty, administrators, and staff. Using quantitative statistical methods these aspects of administrative structure are tested for their effects on academic grant productivity, faculty job stress, and faculty job satisfaction. Administrative datasets and large scale national surveys make up the data for these studies and quantitative statistical methods confirm most of the hypothesized relationships.
In the first essay, findings from statistical modeling using instrumental variables suggest that academic researchers who receive administrative support for grant writing and management obtain fewer grants and have a lower success rate. However, the findings also suggest that the grants these researchers do receive are much larger in terms of dollars. The results indicate that administrative support is particularly beneficial in academic grant situations of high-risk, high-reward. In the second essay, ordered logit models reveal a statistically significant and stronger relationship between staff intensity (i.e., the ratio of faculty to staff workers) and faculty stress than the relationship between executive intensity (i.e., the ratio faculty to executive and managerial workers) and faculty job stress. These findings confirm theory that the work of faculty is more loosely coupled with the work of executives than it is with staff workers. A possible explanation is the increase in administrative work faculty must take on as there are fewer staff workers to take on administrative tasks. And finally, in the third essay results from multi-level modeling confirm that both role clarity and institutional support positively affect both a global measure of faculty job satisfaction and faculty satisfaction with how their work time is allocated. Understanding the effects that administrative structure has on faculty outcomes will aid universities as faculty administrative burdens ebb and flow in reaction to macro trends in higher education, such as unbundling of faculty roles, unbundling of services, neoliberalism, liberal arts decline, and administrative bloat.