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Academic Inbreeding: The State of the Art

Hugo Horta (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

International Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education

ISBN: 978-1-80262-306-2, eISBN: 978-1-80262-305-5

Publication date: 21 November 2022


Academic inbreeding, whereby universities select their academic staff from among their own graduates, is a prevalent practice worldwide. This chapter presents a review of academic inbreeding research and discusses its relevance to leadership. The definition of academic inbreeding is examined, including its rationale and conceptualization. Then, the mechanisms through which academic inbreeding comes to be and the mechanisms that sustain the practice are presented and elaborated upon. Empirical evidence about the effects of academic inbreeding on scholarly practices is considered. Considering that the effects of academic inbreeding tend to be mostly detrimental to a university which aims to be creative, proactive, engaged with external communities, and producing knowledge with the highest levels of quality, policies to deal with this phenomenon are needed. Leadership in this context faces often difficult challenges since the curtailing of academic inbreeding is necessary but often deeply entrenched in traditions, culture and norms, habitus and power structures of the universities.



Horta, H. (2022), "Academic Inbreeding: The State of the Art", Blair, A., Evans, D., Hughes, C. and Tight, M. (Ed.) International Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education (International Perspectives on Higher Education Research, Vol. 15), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 23-39.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023 Hugo Horta. Published under exclusive licence by Emerald Publishing Limited