To read this content please select one of the options below:

Research vitality as sustained excellence: what keeps the plates spinning?

J. Bruce Gilstrap (The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, USA)
Jaron Harvey (University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA)
Milorad M. Novicevic (University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, USA)
M. Ronald Buckley (Michael F. Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, USA)

Career Development International

ISSN: 1362-0436

Article publication date: 25 October 2011




Research vitality addresses the perseverance that faculty members in the organization sciences experience in maintaining their research quantity and quality over an extended period of time. The purpose of this paper is to offer a theoretical model of research vitality.


The authors propose a model consisting of individual and situational factors which influence the motivation and commitment of a professor to continue to conduct quality research over an extended period of time. Additionally, the authors identify benefits that may accrue when faculty members possess research vitality and discuss human resource management implications for schools engaged in hiring, tenuring, promoting, and socializing faculty members. A set of propositions about research vitality and contextual factors that influence this construct are presented and discussed.


An individual‐level construct that represents a time related measure of the quality and quantity of individual contributions to the scholarly discipline of management is developed. Every individual in the organizational sciences field has the capability to contribute in a meaningful way.

Research limitations/implications

The model presented has a number of personal implications and departmental implications such as how to predict research vitality in junior faculty members.

Practical implications

The framework should be used for understanding one element of success in the organizational sciences.


The paper develops a model of research vitality to explain why some faculty continue to be productive, even in the face of a challenging research process.



Gilstrap, J.B., Harvey, J., Novicevic, M.M. and Buckley, M.R. (2011), "Research vitality as sustained excellence: what keeps the plates spinning?", Career Development International, Vol. 16 No. 6, pp. 616-644.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles