Ecological Influences on the Formation of the Hiring Network in the Communication Job Market, 2015 to 2019



This study investigates ecological factors that drive hiring decisions in the academic marketplace. Faculty hires between institutions are conceptualized as interorganizational network ties. Drawing on theoretical insights from network inertia and niche processes in organizational ecology, the current study builds an ecological framework to explain the formation mechanisms of the faculty hiring network among 81 U.S. institutions granting PhDs in communication. Consistent with the predictions of the ecological model of hiring decisions, the empirical results of exponential random graph models (ERGMs) revealed that past behavior (or the presence of previous ties), niche width (or the number of research specializations), and niche overlap (or the degree of shared research specializations) significantly constrained the likelihood of tie creation during the 2015 to 2019 period. These effects held true even when traditional explanations such as network self-organization and status-based hiring patterns were taken into account. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Date made available2021
PublisherSAGE Journals

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