Do heads of academic departments have real effects?

By Paul Walker 28/01/2014 1


A big question for any HOD! Well the answer appears to be yes, which will please the HODs.

There is one robust predictor of a department’s future research output. After adjustment for a range of personal and institutional characteristics, departmental research productivity improves when the incoming department Chair’s publications are highly cited.

What can I say other than I must send this to the HOD of Econ.

The result comes from a new working paper “Leadership and the Research Productivity of University Departments” by Amanda H. Goodall, John M. McDowell and Larry D. Singell.


One Response to “Do heads of academic departments have real effects?”

  • An interesting paper, though I think the authors point out this is a causal relationship and caution against making cause and effect conclusions. And it only looked at HoDs in economics.

    Research outputs are just one measure of a departments success. It would be interesting to know about the relative happiness of staff and satisfaction of students in the departments studied as well.
    Also would a HoD with a strong teaching background have a positive effect on teaching in their department? That would be an interesting question to look at.