Organizational segmentation and the prestige economy: Deprofessionalization in highand low-resource departments

Kelly Ochs Rosinger, Barrett J. Taylor, Lindsay Coco, Sheila Slaughter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Research often considers vertical stratification between U.S. higher education institutions. Yet differences also exist within higher education institutions, which we term “organizational segmentation.” We understand organizational segmentation as a consequence of the external “prestige economy,” which favors research revenues from high-resource science and engineering fields relative to instructional revenues collected by low-resource humanities departments. We use qualitative data from 83 interviews with faculty in high- and low-resource departments to examine how organizational segmentation, academic work, and professionalization are shaped by external and internal resource pressures. We find that deprofessionalization has occurred in different ways for faculty in high- and lowresource academic units. Faculty in high-resource units, like Brint’s (1994) “expert” professionals, depend on external research resources and shape their careers accordingly, whereas faculty in low-resource units rely upon teaching revenues distributed by campus administrators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-54
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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