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College Quarterly
Spring 2010 - Volume 13 Number 2
Revisiting the AAUP recommendation: Initial Validation of a University Faculty Model of Collegiality
by Pattie C. Johnston, Tammy Schimmel and Hunter O’Hara

University faculty is typically evaluated on their teaching, service and scholarship. Recent literature, faculty comment and legal rulings have called for the inclusion of collegiality as a fourth evaluation category. Collegiality may be thought of as any extra-role behaviour that represents individuals’ behaviour that is discretionary, not recognized by the formal reward system and that, in the aggregate, promotes the effective functioning of the educational organization. There is not professoriate agreement about the inclusion of collegiality in faculty evaluations. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recommended against including collegial behaviours in faculty evaluations stating that the inclusion could hinder academic freedom by not allowing for dissent. Other critics have stated that the construct of collegiality is amorphous which prevents the creation of an effective tool available to evaluate collegial behaviour. This paper suggests that both of these concerns could be reconciled by delineating and validating behavioural indicators of collegiality. The delineation would allow faculty to reject any behaviours that threaten academic freedoms and add behavioural precision to the construct. The indicators could provide a basis for an effective tool for use in job descriptions and faculty reviews. Indicators were derived from education evaluation and organizational literature and reviewed for validation by a national random sample of 740 Research University I and II professors. A list of 27 indicators of collegiality were subsumed under five organizational categories and compiled for use.


University faculty members are typically contracted to perform in the three areas of teaching, service and scholarship. Faculty also has additional extra role responsibilities that are not included in the formal contract. The extra-role behaviours referenced may be considered to be elements of collegiality. Specifically, collegiality may refer to any extra-role behaviour that represents individuals’ behaviour that is discretionary, not recognized by the formal reward system and that, in the aggregate, promotes the effective functioning of the educational organization (Organ, 1988). The terms collegial behaviours and extra role behaviours are used interchangeably for the purpose of this study.

There has been compelling assertion from relevant literature and legal findings that supports university faculty be accountable for non-contractually bound collegial behaviours in tenure and promotion evaluations (Connell & Savage, 2001). Faculty members are also beginning to acknowledge the importance of collegial behaviours in position statements and other documents (Boyce, Oates, Lund & Fiorentino, 2008). The case for including extra role behaviours is further supported by research that investigated the perceived faculty importance of collegiality over other job factors such as salary and workload in the workplace (Fogg, 2006).

Research suggests that there are problems associated with the inclusion of collegiality in faculty evaluations. One problem with including collegiality is that the professoriate is not in agreement with having this fourth criterion. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has provided an influential voice on this issue by adopting a recommendation that does not support including collegiality as an evaluation criterion (AAUP, 2006). Perhaps the more overarching problem associated with the inclusion of collegiality is that critics have noted the amorphous nature of the construct which makes the development of an efficient and useful tool for its evaluation difficult (Connell & Savage, 2001). It would be difficult to hold faculty accountable for collegiality if specific performance expectations related to collegiality are informal and ambiguous.

Response to AAUP Recommendation

The AAUP’s Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure has recommended that the practice of adding a fourth criterion of collegiality be discouraged. The committee acknowledges the need for collegiality in the triumvirate of teaching, scholarship and service but noted several reasons why it should not be a separate entity. Several points mentioned in the AAUP recommendation described below warrant careful consideration.

The AAUP recommendation does call for “professional misconduct or malfeasance”, which refers to non-collegial behaviours, to be relevant matter for faculty evaluation. They also note that efforts to obstruct the ability of colleagues to carry out their normal functions, engage in personal attacks or to violate ethical standards are actions faculty need to be accountable for in their evaluations but that they do not constitute a discrete standard. It is difficult to understand fully what is meant in the AAUP recommendation that states breaches in collegiality should be relevant matter. It suggests accountability for collegial behaviour but it is difficult to hold faculty accountable in a meaningful way for anything that is not part of a formal contract or other discrete standards.

The accountability for a collegial breech may currently be found in a contract other than the formal contract. Rousseau (1995) suggests that there is another type of contract that exists between colleagues which serves to bind extra-role collegial behaviours. She uses the term psychological contract to describe the subtle presence of expectations regarding terms of an exchange agreement between individuals and their organization. Argyirs (1990) defined the psychological or implied contract as the unwritten expectations that operate between people in a work place. Such a contract might include extra role collegial behaviours.  The power of the psychological contract may be recognized when it is violated (Rousseau, 1989). The violation may be seen as more than just a failure to meet expectations but rather a signal of a damaged relationship between individuals. Bies (1987) suggests that perceived violation may yield deep and instant responses similar to anger and moral outrage. Current evaluation practices appear to be using implied contracts to “cover” mutual agreements and obligations about collegial behaviours assumed in typical written contractual agreements. The implied contract has been described as being a powerful determinant of behaviour. However, court opinion has said the assumption of collegial expectations in the implied contract may leave universities legally vulnerable if dismissals are based on them (Schien, 1980). Examples of legal findings are described below.

Legal considerations. The AAUP recommendation says in its rationale that collegiality should never be the sole cause of non-reappointment, denial of tenure or dismissal and therefore, not be considered a discrete category. The difficulty that arises with this perspective is that the lack of collegial behaviour has and continues to be a sole criterion for dismissals and denials in numerous court cases. Fisher (Fisher v. Vassar College, 1995) was denied tenure because she had difficulty in establishing straightforward, open, trusting, collegial relationships with others in the department. She brought suit against the college, was awarded damages but the federal appellate court overturned the decision and sustained Vassar’s decision to deny Fisher tenure. The assenting opinion said that senior members of the department simply did not “like” Fisher and did not wish to establish a career-long professional relationship with her even though it was arguable that such grounds alone justified the department’s recommendation against tenure.

Yackshaw was a tenured professor at John Carroll University who was found to have written an anonymous letter charging several members of his department with sexual harassment, mental illness, improper sexual conduct and homosexuality (Yackshaw v. John Carroll University, 1993). He denied the writing of the letter but a history of similar behaviour suggested otherwise and he was dismissed. The letter was said to have represented “moral turpitude”. Yackshaw brought suit against the university, won, but lost in appellate court. The case of Kelly v. Kansas State Community College (1987) resulted in the dismissal of two nurses on the basis of their refusal to cooperate with other colleagues. Other faculty referred to the “constant snipping” in the staff meetings. The two nurses were dismissed, filed suit, but lost.

A professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges was denied tenure citing problems in all three typically included criteria in the faculty handbook (Romer v. Hobart & William Smith Colleges, 1994). The dean had written a letter to the review committee expressing her concerns about Romer’s personal and professional relationship with another department member suggesting a collegial breach. Romer filed a grievance which was rejected and then filed suit alleging breach of contract. It was his contention that the college considered this relationship when making their decision and that this type of behaviour was not within any of the three stated criteria. The federal court rejected the notion that listing specific criteria in the faculty handbook somehow limited the types of information that a college could assess in its tenure process.

The case of Bresnick v. Manhattanville College (1994) involved another tenure denial because of lack of collegiality. Bresnick was denied because of his “inability to work with others”. The college further stated that New York laws set forth for awarding tenure encompassed collegiality or working with colleagues in a collaborative manner. Bresnick’s argument was that collegiality was not part of the criteria listed in college documents and therefore, he could not be dismissed on these grounds. The court again deferred to the college but stated that extra role responsibilities should be part of the contract.

In each of these cases, court decisions have deferred to university judgment but the rulings continue to recommend formal inclusion of expectations. Despite the AAUP assertion that collegial issues should not be the sole basis for denial of tenure or dismissal, these cases confirm that they have been. More problematic for universities is that professors who are denied tenure or promotion may be more likely to continue to bring suit against departments and universities as they have in the past if they think that grounds are present because collegial expectations are not articulated.

Perceived threat to academic freedom. Perhaps the strongest argument the AAUP and its supporters have made for not including collegiality as a separate criterion of faculty assessment is that the invocation of collegiality may threaten academic freedom. The AAUP (2006) stated that collegiality may be confused with the expectation that a faculty member display “enthusiasm”, “dedication” , “evince a constructive attitude that will foster harmony” or display “excessive deference to decisions that may require reason”. Such expectations are flatly contrary to principles of academic freedom which protect a faculty member’s right to dissent from judgments of colleagues and administrators. This concern is serious but may be reconciled when indicators associated with or representative of collegiality are validated. The delineation of valid collegiality indicators could enable universities to accept collegial behaviours expected by faculty and reject any behaviours that would threaten academic freedoms.

Supporting Organizational Behaviour Literature

The importance of collegiality in the university workplace has been underscored in the literature. Bodies of research from the educational evaluation and industrial organizational literature suggest that collegiality be addressed because of its link to organizational effectiveness. Trower and Gallager (2008) suggest that it is vital for institutions to value and implement accountability for collegial interactions. They say the valuing of collegiality is especially important for chairs to embrace so that they can become effective mentors and relationship builders as their position may be used as an impetus for creating collegial workplaces. The evidence provided by these two bodies of literature is both empirical and descriptive in nature which strengthens the argument for inclusion.

Descriptive support. Collegiality is closely related to other constructs named in educational and organizational research to include rapport, pro-social organizational behaviours and organizational citizenship behaviours. Tickle-Degnen and Rosenthal (1987) said that rapport was important to the coordination of behaviour in social interactions but emphasized that it did not require a cheerful attitude. It is not considered a character trait but persons may be particularly skilled at developing it. Pro-Social Organizational Behaviour is a model of organizational extra role behaviours that represents the types of non-contractually bound behaviours expected to occur between co-workers (Brief & Motowildo, 1986). Straw (1986) expanded the behavioural model and delineated 13 indicators of pro-social organizational behaviours. Sample behaviours include assisting co-workers, suggesting improvements, objecting to improper directives, putting forth extra effort and volunteering for extra assignments. Organ (1988) has provided a model of Organizational Citizenship Behaviours (OCB) that has received extensive attention in the organizational literature. The model has five separate categories of extra role behaviours which include Altruism, Conscientiousness, Sportsmanship, Courtesy and Civic Virtue. Altruism includes behaviours that have the effect of helping a person with an organizationally relevant task such as lending materials. Conscientiousness includes behaviours that go beyond a minimum requirement such as when existing faculty members help to orient a new professor. Avoiding negative behaviours such as petty complaining encompass the third category of Sportsmanship. Courtesy includes briefing colleagues and other behaviours performed to prevent problems. Civic Virtue requires the responsible participation in the political life of the university or organization. Behaviours may include reading relevant materials or discussing issues. The attention that extra-role behaviours have received in the research serves to underscore their importance in the workplace and is further supported by empirical studies.

Empirical evidence. There is also considerable empirical evidence that has suggested the importance of collegiality in the workplace. The organizational studies have used the term “pro-social behaviours” to describe extra role or collegial behaviours. Studies have investigated the relationship between extra role behaviours and overall organizational effectiveness. Connell and Savage (2001) have asserted that a person’s ability to work civilly in the university is no different than acting civilly outside the academy which suggests that findings from organizational research have application to university settings. George and Betterhouse (1990) investigated pro-social behaviour and group performance and found that these two variables were significantly related (r = .33). They also looked at the relationship between group cohesiveness and pro-social behaviours. Highly cohesive groups were characterized by heightened collegial behaviours including member attraction to the group, friendliness, mutual liking and positive feelings about carrying out group tasks. Correlations calculated indicate a high linkage between cohesiveness and pro-social behaviours which suggests that extra-role behaviours not only impact productivity but relate to other desirable aspects of organizations such as cohesiveness (r = .50). Puffer (1987) also looked at the relationship between pro-social behaviours and work performance and found an equally positive relationship between the two variables.

Podsakoff and MacKenzie (1994) examined the relationship between these two variables. They specifically used OCB categories as their metric for pro-social behaviours. Correlations between performance effectiveness and each OCB category were calculated. Results indicated that all categories were found to be related to overall performance which supports findings mentioned above that suggest extra role behaviours are important to organizational functioning. Civic Virtue and Sportsmanship exhibited expected positive effects on performance. Helping behaviour was found to have a negative effect on performance possibly because the effect of helping may have been statistically suppressed. Podsakoff, Ahearne and MacKenzie (1997) also conducted a study that examined the effectiveness of OCBs and addressed the possible statistical suppression from the previously mentioned study. Data provided support for the hypothesis that all OCBs with the exception of Civic Virtue were related to effectiveness including helping behaviours. The authors suggested that perhaps the effects of Civic Virtue showed up only in aggregate which makes accountability difficult.

These findings suggest that collegiality related behaviours benefit organization in substantive and positive ways. The descriptive support is rooted in significant educational evaluation writings as well as current writings in organizational behaviour. The empirical evidence has suggested a relationship between extra-role behaviours and organizational effectiveness. Both branches of research provided compelling reasons to consider faculty accountability.

Faculty Viewpoints of Collegiality

The significance of collegiality to university faculty is supported by current educational research. A national survey created by the research center at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education was administered to 4,500 tenure-track faculty members from 51 colleges and universities. Survey data found that tenure-track faculty members care more about departmental climate, culture, and collegiality than they do about workload, tenure clarity, and compensation (Fogg, 2006). A regression analysis of the responses indicated that climate was five times as important as compensation in predicting job satisfaction. These results have significant implications for retaining tenure track faculty. If departments want to retain effective tenure track professors, then this study suggests that they must value and create collegial environments.

In addition to faculty perceived importance of a collegial atmosphere, Boyce, Oates, Lund and Fiorentino (2008) have noted that trends have already revealed the emergence of collegiality as a fourth category of formal assessment in some institutions. They state that “dispositions and collegiality” are appearing in promotion and tenure guidelines and position announcements as characteristics of successful candidates. They also note that efforts to assess faculty affective behaviours have not resulted in the development of an effective and useful tool. Performance expectations have been informal and unwritten which has created an evaluation environment that is ambiguous.

Other researchers have claimed that collegiality is such an amorphous term that it could be subtly and adversely used in evaluation of minority faculty (Connell & Savage, 2001). The suggestion is that faculty could use a lack of collegiality as a mask for discrimination or faculty distaste for other faculty with opposing viewpoints. Even though critics of collegiality have expressed concerns about the possible discriminatory misuse of collegiality, the courts have decided in favor of the universities in almost every case where the issue was raised.

The amorphous and ambiguous nature of the term collegiality is also relevant to the concern raised by Boyce, Oates, Lund and Fiorentino (2008) which noted that there was no effective tool for assessing extra role behaviours. An effective tool for evaluating collegiality would necessitate reducing the amorphous nature of collegiality by identifying valid indicators of collegiality. Evidence of indicator validity could be provided by using traditional measurement techniques for delineating constructs including review by subject matter experts (Crocker & Algina, 1986).


The support for the addition of collegiality in faculty evaluations is compelling and therefore, warrants further development. However, there were two factors to consider before implementing a system that evaluates extra role behaviours. It has been noted that the term collegiality is so amorphous and vague that it does little to provide specific guidelines for behaviours and yet specific descriptors of collegiality have been identified and described in the abovementioned studies. The AAUP has also warned that any assessment of collegiality should not inhibit academic freedoms. These two hindrances are reconciled by the careful delineation of collegiality as a construct. The purpose of this study was to delineate collegiality by creating a list of possible research based indicators and assessing evidence of their validity. The list of validated indicators could be used to develop an effective tool for assessing collegiality as suggested by the courts and make legal actions taken in response to the lack of collegiality easier.  The indicators would help create a clearer and less amorphous lens of collegiality and provide specific guidelines to help better communicate extra-role expectations between faculty members. Validated indicators could also serve to address the academic freedom concern of the AAUP.  Faculty examination of each possible indicator is crucial to this effort so that indicators that may hinder academic freedoms are identified and rejected.  Indicators are for use in Research I and II Universities only.


The process of delineating the construct of collegiality required two basic procedures: the creation of a collegiality model with behavioural indicators and the implementation of a Job Task Analysis (JTA) to assess the validity of the indicators by having a national random sample of professors rate the representativeness of the suggested indicators.

Creation of Initial Collegial Model

The study required the construction of a model of collegial behaviours representative of university professors from Research I and II universities. The preliminary nature of this attempt required that all behavioural indicators derived from the research on collegiality be included for professor rating and examination in order to enhance validity by capturing the domain more completely. Indicators were derived from the OCB model, the list of pro-social organization behaviours, the aspects included in the model of rapport and all individually listed components from the education evaluation research previously cited. Each indicator was subsumed by one of the five categories of OCB to enhance organizational salience. These categories were adapted to the academic setting. These possible indicators of collegiality were to be reviewed by university professors and rated as to their representativeness of expected collegial behaviours.

Research Participants

This study involved the participation of two groups of professors as content experts. The first group of research participants consisted of four Research I University faculty members from three different departments functioning as Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). They were asked to review the initial list of possible collegial behaviours before the list was sent out to a large sample of professors. The SME’s were asked to judge the representativeness of all possible collegiality indicators. They were also asked to augment the list with other possible indicators of collegial behaviour not included. It was of particular concern to have one of the SME’s from the psychology department who specialized in organizational behaviour. Another SME functioned as a department chairperson and added an administrative perspective. The two remaining SME’s were from various departments based on availability. Tenured and non-tenured professors were included.

The second group of research participants consisted of a nationwide random sample of Research I and II University professors. A table of random numbers was used to select the sample. The sample was selected by first breaking down the universities into major fields of study. The major fields of studies used were adapted from the program fields used by The National Center for Educational Statistics in a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education (1993). All major fields of study were sampled in this project and include Art, Business, Social Science, Communication, Computer Science, Foreign Language, Education, English, Engineering, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Psychology, Philosophy, Religion and Theology. Each field of study was common to all Research I and Research II universities. Some fields were omitted because they were not common to the research universities. Law, Vocational Training and Agriculture were examples of some of the omitted fields.

A random sample was drawn to include professors from four Research I and four Research II universities for each of the 13 fields of study. The approximate sample size was estimated to be just under five hundred. Norgen and Krejcie (1970) have provided a table of recommended sample sizes for populations with finite sizes. Two hundred seventeen professor responses were needed according to these authors to generate an appropriate sample size. The survey was sent to the sample of professors who were asked to rate the degree to which each indicator represented collegial behaviour.


There was one initial survey of collegial behaviours that went through revisions as the study progressed. Identified indicators were listed under the appropriate OCB section for organizational saliency. Each of the initial 47 indicators was listed with a place to rate the degree to which the item is representative of collegial behaviour. A Likert type format was used with five response options ranging from very indicative to not indicative of collegial interaction. The survey was given first to a group of SMEs to examine. The SMEs rated the degree of collegiality of each indicator as well as augmented the list with additional indicators. Revisions were made to reflect the SME input and then sent out to the nationwide sample of professors. A cover letter was included with the survey to explain the purpose of the survey and to encourage participation. A follow-up letter was also sent to increase the response rate.

Another form was also created and given to the SMEs to review each of the final indicators for racial/gender bias and ambiguity. The bias and ambiguity form was a Likert scale that included all indicators. SMEs were asked to rate the degree to which bias and ambiguity were present.

Implementation of Job Task Analysis

A Job Task Analysis (JTA) was conducted to provide evidence of the validity of each indicator by asking a large, national sample of university professors to rate the representativeness of each indicator. Clifford (1994) has suggested this methodology when trying to investigate relevant aspects of varying jobs by asking job incumbents to rate job aspects using a Likert scale. The JTA was modified for use in this study asking incumbents to investigate representativeness of collegial job behaviours. A JTA allowed for each possible indicator of collegiality to be rated by a large sample of individual professors without influence. Individual and uninfluenced ratings are important to the identification of representative indicators especially when considering status aspects. It is especially essential that minority and non-tenured faculty review collegiality indicators without pressure from tenured colleagues because critics of collegiality have expressed concern that these groups may be adversely affected by collegial evaluation. Therefore, their uninfluenced ratings of collegiality are warranted. Related Delphi Techniques purposely seek consensus which was not the desired outcome in this study and do not easily allow for the inclusion of large and random samples.

Clifford (1994) has provided a generic model approach to JTA which includes four steps. The first step includes collecting relevant job task data. This research effort used the extra-role behaviours delineated in the model as job tasks. The list of possible extra-role tasks was augmented by behaviours indicated as important from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Four faculty members were used as SME’s. These experts provided information regarding the validity of the indicators (Crocker & Algina, 1986). They were asked to examine the list of extra- role behaviours and judge their representativeness of collegiality using a five point Likert scale. Five response options ranging from very indicative to not indicative at all were included. The data resulting from this judgment task was used for selection of items for the subsequent version to be used. Any items receiving a rating of “not indicative at all” by all four experts were dropped. All other items remained. The SMEs were also asked to augment the existing list with any indicators they felt were relevant.

The next step required the rated representativeness be verified by exposure to a large number of job incumbents. This step provided an opportunity for a large nationwide sample of professors to rate the appropriateness of the indicators. Kirwan and Ainsworth (1992) have suggested several ways to collect data. Activity sampling, critical incident technique, observation, questionnaires, interviews and verbal protocols were all possible employable techniques. Questionnaires or surveys are recommended if responses from a large number of incumbents are desired which was appropriate forthis study. The questionnaire consisted of the list of revised collegial behavioural tasks based on the input from the SMEs. These surveys were sent out to a large national random sample of professors from Research I and II Universities. The final step of the JTA involved analyzing the data received from the questionnaires. Mean scores were calculated for each indicator. The means for appropriateness suggested which indicators appear to represent collegial behaviours best. Indicators with low mean scores were dropped. Effect sizes between gender and tenure status were also calculated. Effect sizes larger than .50 were considered to be too large and those items were removed. Items were also removed if suggested by several respondents.


A model of collegiality was created based on research from relevant educational and industrial organizational literature that included 47 possible indicators subsumed by one of the five OCB categories. A group of four SMEs were given a copy of the survey for review before it was sent out to the national sample of professors. The SMEs comments/suggestions and ratings were reviewed. Revisions made in the wording of the items were based on suggestions made by the SMEs. The words “as needed” were added to assists co-workers with problems. The word “positive” was added to the two items about contact with departmental co-workers. “When helpful” was added to briefs co-workers and the phrase “important to functioning” was added to attends meetings regularly.  Of notable relation to the hindering of academic freedoms, the item “objects to improper objectives” was changed to include “politely objects”. The item states that behaviours associated with academic freedom such as objecting or dissenting is acceptable behaviour but that it should be done politely.

Mean ratings and range of ratings were calculated for each of the 47 indicators for revision review. Item 27 was the only item dropped because of a low mean score (2.75). Ninety eight percent of the items were rated above the 3.0 level which indicated a rating of somewhere above moderately indicative of collegiality. Score ranges were small which suggested that all SMEs were in approximate agreement in their ratings.

The revised survey was then sent to a nationwide random sample of over 730 Research University I and II professors. The sample size exceeded the estimate needed. Three hundred and one surveys were returned after two mailings which provided a 41% overall response rate. Analysis was conducted to determine which items were rated high enough to be representative of collegiality. Item means were calculated from both mailings and compared. Results suggested that mailing did not impact findings. Items with low means, large gender, race or tenure status effect sizes or at least two instances of repeated negative faculty input were dropped. Items were dropped if the mean approximated 3.0 because that suggested that the item was not indicative enough of collegiality.
Effect sizes were calculated to examine possible bias on items between race, male/female and tenured/non-tenured respondents. Cohen (1988) suggests that an effect size of .2 is small, .5 is medium and .8 is large. Any items with effect sizes nearing .5 were dropped.  Three items were dropped because of large gender effect sizes (.46, .48 and .50). Each of these items was rated more representative of collegiality by men than by women. Two items were rated higher by tenure track faculty than tenured faculty (.55 and .47). No items were dropped based on effect sizes by race.  Six items were reworded to enhance comprehension. Twenty two items were dropped and two items were added based on repeated incumbent suggestions.

Item means were calculated to determine which indicators were rated to represent collegiality well. Means approximating 3.0 were considered for dropping because this rating indicated that the item was “indicative of collegiality” on the Likert scale. Five items were dropped because their associated mean rating was at or below 3.0. These items included “does not leave organization despite hardships”, “is not alienated from colleagues”, “does not appear to be socially withdrawn”, “does not lack social ability” and “speaks up” with respective means of 3.05, 3.02, 2.81, 3.15 and 3.12.

Several items were combined because they were considered by at least two responders to be too similar to be separate indicators of collegiality. “Avoids petty grievances” and “does not make large problems out of small ones” were combined. “Touches base” and “provides advanced notice” were also considered to be too similar and combined. Two items that were focused on faculty dissent were combined and included “exhibits good tension” and takes “turns in conversation”. The suggestion was also given to make the phrase “good tension” less ambiguous and so the item was changed to “negotiates respectfully with co-workers”. The last items that were combined are “attends meetings regularly” and “participates in casual conversation relating to work”.

The following items were dropped because at least two incumbents provided similar kinds of suggestions. “Provides informal counseling to students” was dropped because it was about student/faculty interaction and not colleague interaction. “Represents organization favorably to others” was also dropped because it was considered to be an ethic’s issue. “Is compatible with others” was dropped because it was thought to be too general.

Six items were reworded to lessen ambiguity. “When approached or appropriate” was added to “assists co-workers with personal problems”. “Willing to teach undesirable courses” was changed to “share of undesirable courses”. The term “generally” was added to “displays a positive attitude” and to “is not disruptive”. The last item was reworded to include “to department or college” when suggesting improvements. This change would exclude any personal suggested improvements.

Two items were added based on repeated incumbent written feedback requested at the end of the survey. All raters were provided space to describe any indicators that were not included in the survey but considered to be collegial behaviours. The first added item was based on six raters’ comments on avoiding negative gossip about colleagues. The other item mentioned by three raters addressed praising the achievements of other.

Cronbach alphas were also calculated on each of the five OCB subscales to determine the internal consistency of the items (see Table 1). The alpha levels were high with the lowest level associated with the Altruism scale. The Altruism alpha level (.70) may be lower because of the small number of items on the scale. The items on this subscale had very high means which did indicate that the JTA sample found the indicators to be very representative of collegial behaviours.

Table 1. Subscale Cronbach alphas

Subscale Cronbach alpha Number of items JTA respondent N
Altruism .70 4 274
Conscientiousness .80 9 283
Courtesy .93 5 291
Sportsmanship .92 4 279
Civic Virtue .86 5 285

The revised list of collegial behaviours included 27 items. The same group of SMEs were then given the list of indicators and an evaluation form and asked to evaluate the indicators for ambiguity, racial bias and gender bias. Most items remained the same. The wording was changed in two items. The phrase “when approached” was dropped from assisting co-workers with work related problems and the phrase “appropriate share” was added to volunteering for share of extra jobs. No items were rated as having any bias or as being unclear or ambiguous. The final list of indicators remained with 27 items (see Table 2). Altruism, Conscientiousness, Sportsmanship, Courtesy and Civic Virtue subscales now had 4, 9, 5, 4 and 5 indicators each, respectively.

Table 2. Final List of Incumbent Reviewed and Rated Indicators of Collegiality

Model of Collegiality by OCB Category


  1. Assists co-workers with job related problems
  2. Assists co-workers with personal problems when needed
  3. Shares materials when needed
  4. Consults with others on work related problems when needed


  1. Puts forth extra effort on the job
  2. Serves on university wide committees
  3. Volunteers for appropriate share of extra jobs or assignments
  4. Agrees to teach an appropriate share of undesirable courses
  5. Displays a generally positive attitude
  6. Has positive contact with co-workers within own department
  7. Has positive contact with co-workers outside of own department
  8. Encourages faculty
  9. Supports faculty


  1. Avoids excessive complaining
  2. Avoids petty grievances
  3. Is not disruptive in meetings
  4. Negotiates respectfully with co-workers
  5. Praises achievements or awards of co-workers


  1. Does not “gossip” negatively about co-workers
  2. Challenges perceived injustices in a respectful manner
  3. Demonstrates respect towards co-workers
  4. Touches base with relevant persons

Civic Virtue

  1. Regularly attends meetings important to departmental functioning
  2. Promptly keeps appointments with co-workers
  3. Completes committee responsibilities and assignments on time
  4. Suggests improvements to the department or college
  5. Contributes to joint efforts

Compelling evidence suggests that a fourth category of collegiality be added to faculty evaluations despite recommendations by the AAUP and concerns about the amorphous nature of the construct. There is important legal precedence. Faculty members have been denied tenure based upon a lack of ability to work well with others and have taken university decisions to courts. Courts have suggested that universities include collegial behaviours as part of the formal contract. Inclusion could put departments on better legal grounds for dismissal and may act as a deterrent for faculty denied tenure or promotion to pursue legal action.  Studies have also shown that collegial behaviours are correlated with institutional effectiveness and valued by tenure track faculty.

A possible solution to the AAUP concerns about inhibiting academic freedoms and the vague nature of the construct was offered in this study that systematically created and validated a new model of the construct of collegiality. Professors rated an initial list of possible collegial indicators to determine the degree to which each indicator represented collegiality. The indicators could provide a source from which departments or colleges are able to move collegial behaviours into a more formal and effective assessment system by providing validated indicators. The indicators allow for clear delineation of faculty expectations which may be added to the evaluation system in a variety of ways.


The indicators were rated by professors in Research I and II universities only. This limits the validity of the indicators to research universities because varying university environments may be associated with different collegial expectations. The limitations may be particularly problematic for universities and colleges with smaller department and faculty sizes or with less publication pressures. It could be that these types of colleges function with different degrees of interaction than large research universities.

The results are generalizable to all Research I and II universities which suggests that any national university of this type could apply these indicators. The larger than statistically needed sample size and randomness of the sample selection enable one to be fairly certain that the indicators would represent collegiality in national research university settings.


Approximately half of the original indicators were retained after the national sample of incumbent ratings. Most of the remaining indicators were revised to reflect collegial behaviours more carefully. All four of the retained indicators from the Altruism scale are about helping, assisting and consulting others. Feedback from professors indicated that these related behaviours were collegial but only “when needed” or “when asked”. This distinction may be important because the implication is that helping and assisting colleagues without being invited is not collegial. A point not investigated in this study is whether who is helping whom matters. It may be that unsolicited help by a senior faculty member is different than unsolicited aide from a colleague of equal status.

Another item of note is the inclusion of the “negotiating well with others” indicator. This item reconciles concerns the AAUP has stated about academic freedom. The item implies that dissent is expected but that it should be done respectfully. Effort was made through several revisions to assure that the item was worded clearly and not open to interpretation.

Two indicators of collegiality not found in the literature were included in the final list of indicators. The addition of the indicator that refers to gossiping was of particular interest because it was strongly suggested without prompt in the open ended section of the survey by many incumbents. Gossiping negatively about peers was reported to be the cause of many faculty problems. The second item not suggested in the literature but suggested without prompt was praising the accomplishments of others. These items were added to the final list of indicators because of the repeated strong suggestions. Additionally, these two indicators appear to have face validity or have appearance of collegiality.

The indicators have practical use for departments. They could be part of a faculty handbook for reference or become part of a formal contract so that they may suggest better guidance. They could also provide documentation and positioning for the university if there is ever a legal dispute over extra-role behaviours. Each department may include varying behavioural expectations and could consider which of the indicators apply to their own department. The decision to augment or omit behaviours can be a collaborative and dynamic departmental decision based on consensus of collegial expectations. The list of collegial expectations may also be posted as part of a job description or discussed when interviewing any prospective candidate applying for a faculty position. Expectations can be made clear from the start.

Indicators of collegiality could also provide valuable and precise feedback for tenure track faculty. At present, junior faculty may be given only generalized references of collegiality providing junior faculty no precise guidance. Precise indicators clarify expectations for their behaviour and contributions.  The indicators may also help faculty leaders negotiate with senior faculty who see themselves as collegial but are not perceived by their peers as collegial. The indicators provide a clear expectation of collegiality by providing useful and exacting guidelines. Speaking of collegiality in vague terms may actually encourage some faculty to pursue what they believe to be collegial behaviours when, in fact, specific indicators will demonstrate otherwise.

One of the more important implications for faculty of this study may be a call to faculty leaders. Awareness by provosts, deans and chairpersons of the importance of extra role behaviours to the effective running of departments may be crucial for the valuing of a collegial atmosphere. These persons can be an important impetus for creating positive atmospheres and collegial work environments. 

Future Research

There are several aspects of collegiality inclusion that could be examined with further investigation. The indicators could be turned into a scale to use for measurement of collegiality which could formalize the inclusion. Such a scale could be used by departments to provide formal feedback for non-tenured and tenured professors about exact behaviours in question. Scale construction would require several considerations. The final list of items/indicators was 27. This number is rather large. It may be beneficial to explore the factor structure in order to try to reduce the number of indicators. There are several factors that may be reduced. Two sets of indicators of particular interest in this regard are: (a) assists colleagues with work related problems/consults with others on work related matters and (b) encourages faculty support/supports faculty. The implementation of the scale would require a departmentally salient plan to include who rates who, who is rated and when to rate. A scale may be of particular use in departments with a history of collegial problems. The two added items referring to gossip and giving praise for accomplishments may also warrant further validation.


The inclusion of collegiality as a fourth criterion for faculty evaluation has had two major problems.  The AAUP issued an official recommendation against the inclusion of collegiality as a separate aspect of faculty evaluation. The recommendation was made primarily because holding faculty accountable for collegial behaviour was thought to be a threat to academic freedom. The AAUP specifically said that including collegiality may be confused with an expectation that a faculty member display some sort of false enthusiasm, dedication or evince a constructive attitude just to foster harmony. This possibility is contrary to principles of academic freedom which say that a faculty member has a right to dissent from judgments of colleagues and administrators. The construct of collegiality also had not been delineated and associated indicators validated for university use. The amorphous nature of the construct made creating an effective assessment tool difficult.

These concerns are serious but were answered in the creation of a model of collegiality with validated indicators. Indicators of collegiality that reflect a need for respectful negotiation are included in the model of collegiality created in this study which alleviates the AAUP’s concern.  The use of carefully delineated indicators of collegiality would certainly help prevent the threat posed to academic freedom by rejecting any indicators that suggest the very types of behaviours cautioned by the AAUP in their recommendation. The amorphous nature of collegiality has been defined which will allow for the creation of an effective tool for its assessment and inclusion as a fourth criterion in faculty evaluation. 


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Pattie C. Johnston, Tammy Schimmel, Hunter O’Hara are all faculty at The University of Tampa. Pattie C. Johnston if from Tampa Florida. The authors can be contacted at this email address: