The increasingly competitive and globalizing environment of today’s higher education market has compelled many colleges and universities around the world to revamp their academic programs and organizational structures by responsively addressing various contemporary issues raised by internal as well as external stakeholders. It is no exception that Japanese colleges and universities have gone through a period of dramatic transition over the last decade under considerable pressure and influence of the central government’s stringent policy mandates. Although the government-led reforms have intended to support the domestic institutions of higher education in gaining a competitive edge and assuring the quality of teaching and research, a series of reform attempts are documented to have increased the workload of Japanese professors tremendously, while shifting their work balance from teaching- and research-oriented activities towards more administrative or service-related tasks. It is a shared concern that the excessive workload of administrative responsibilities on professors deteriorates the quality of student instruction　and research productivity delivered by the academic staff. This study focuses on the amount of time spent by the faculty on administrative tasks and examines how their workload is influenced by the organizational scale and composition of supporting staff members as well as faculty colleagues. Our finding suggests that a mere increase of support staff would not necessarily reduce the faculty time spent on administrative or service-related tasks in Japanese universities. An increase in employment of part-time administrative assistants per se could indeed add heavier burdens on professors, due to their growing responsibilities in managing the larger scale of their organizations. Further simulation results demonstrate that the faculty workload in administrative tasks would most effectively be alleviated with the support from research assistants, provided that the same budgetary constraint is assigned to the organizational unit.
February 1, 2013
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
INTERNAL STAFF ALLOCATION AND THE CHANGING WORKLOAD OF JAPANESE PROFESSORIATE: A Multilevel Statistical Analysis with Simulations by Satoshi P. Watanabe, Masataka Murasawa, and Yasumi Abe. CSHE .1.13 (February 2013)