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“Life could be a dream”: What US‐based management PhD students desire in an initial academic appointment

C. Brian Flynn (Department of Management, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Hubert S. Feild (Department of Management, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA)
Arthur G. Bedeian (Department of Management, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 16 August 2011




The purpose of this paper is to first identify the work‐ and non‐work‐related criteria US‐based management doctoral students consider important in selecting an initial academic appointment, and second, to explore whether gender and race/ethnicity are associated with the importance attached to these criteria.


To address these objectives, the authors developed a 125‐item survey of work‐ and non‐work‐related criteria that management PhD students about to enter the academic labor market for the first time may wish to consider in weighing prospective job opportunities.


Job and professional considerations were dominant in assessing an initial employment opportunity. Female doctoral students differed from their male counterparts in attaching greater importance to four major themes: family friendliness, research support, clarity of performance and reward criteria, and university and community diversity. Race/ethnicity differences were also found, with Asian doctoral students valuing considerations related to academic prestige and research support more than their White counterparts.

Research limitations/implications

Respondents indicated their race/ethnicity, but not their nationality, or whether they were immigrants or US citizens and, thus, may have confounded the results to some degree.

Practical implications

The authors' results carry important implications for departmental administrators seeking to fill open positions with first‐time faculty candidates, as well as management PhD students interested in whether a department can meet their expectations regarding academic and financial resources necessary for academic success.


In that detailed information about what PhD students in general and management doctoral students in particular want in an initial academic appointment is limited, the paper fills a longstanding gap in the research literature.



Brian Flynn, C., Feild, H.S. and Bedeian, A.G. (2011), "“Life could be a dream”: What US‐based management PhD students desire in an initial academic appointment", Career Development International, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 316-341.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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