Academic ‘Survey’ How do you humiliate an academic? What are academics really afraid of? In the university environment academics seem to consider additional administrative duties as hard labour. Do you agree? What would constitute the ultimate 'pain & suffering' for an academic? How do you make an academic feel guilty? Is the ultimate deprivation for an academic preventing them from going to any more conferences?
1. Professor Spotty Cat The thing that academics seem to hate most is photocopying - 'the highest paid photocopy clerk in the world' is the common complaint For teaching academics, marking is the really awful task Being an academic means being guilty all of one's life: guilty about not getting back to collaborators, not working on this that or whatever The thing we fear most is lack of autonomy - having to work 9 to 5. Being TOLD what to put into things or how to do things - being told to do anything at all really!
2. Professor Ginger Cat Academic life is so diverse (teaching, research, administration) that most academics have some ballast against humiliation For some, rejection by a journal is humiliation; others can make it into a badge of honour - 'I'm so far ahead of my time...', 'I'm not a part of the establishment...'. What academics fear most is a scholarly consensus that they have nothing to say… Our greatest fear is oblivion, but that is hard to engineer
The Theory & Practice Reward increases behaviours Punishment decreases behaviours Even negative attention is a potent reinforcer Reciprocal inhibition is effective Reward is more potent than punishment Discrimination learning: reward & punishment Modelling can be effective Response cost Immediacy matters
On theory, in practice “Pragmatism is great in theory, but it doesn’t work in practice.” Sydney Morgenbesser
Some interesting references Houston, Meyer, L.H. and Paewai,S. 2006. ‘Academic staff workloads and job satisfaction: Expectations and values in academe’. Journal of Higher Education and Management, 28(1 ), 17-30. Kerr, S. 1975. ‘On the folly of rewarding A, while hoping for B’. Academy of Management Journal, 18, 769-782. Garland, D. 1993 Punishment and Modern Society. University of Chicago Press.