Do heads of academic departments have real effects?

By Paul Walker 28/01/2014


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.


0 Responses 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.