Higher Education

, Volume 69, Issue 4, pp 527–546 | Cite as

An empirical study of faculty mobility in China

  • Guangcai Yan
  • Ying Yue
  • Menghu Niu


With the implementation of position appointment and contract system in China, faculty become more mobile than before in this emerging academic market, though in terms of mobility frequency and rate, they are still less active than their counterparts in the West. Using the data collected from 50 renowned research universities throughout China, this empirical study probes into the relationship between faculty members’ working perception and their mobility intention, aiming at achieving a more comprehensive understanding of the academic profession in China. It proposes (a) to figure out the relationship between faculty members’ mobility intention and their satisfaction with the internal environment within a university, and (b) to clarify which is more significant in predicting faculty members’ mobility, the internal or external organizational environment factor. Additionally, given the social background of China, we intend to examine whether western-based theories about satisfaction and mobility intentions can provide an adequate account of the phenomenon in this particular context. A most significant finding is that Chinese faculty members’ low level of satisfaction with organizational environment is operative as the “push” factor but often in a potential way and even if when the “pull” factor, better opportunities for academic development emerges, the “pull” factor can not necessarily exert apparent influence, because the parameter “region/city” where one university is located works as a precondition or the most critical cause for their mobility or stability.


Faculty mobility Satisfaction Mobility intention Academic profession 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.East China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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