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Faculty evaluation as a social dilemma: a game theoretic approach


  • Julia Grant
  • Timothy Fogarty


This paper considers issues pertaining to accounting faculty performance evaluation as it is generally applied in the United States. How performance is evaluated is a question of interest to all stakeholders in the enterprise of accounting education, particularly in the light of recent changes in the educational environment. Some characteristics of faculty performance evaluation are institutionspecific. For example, the number of years of service required before a tenure decision can vary across universities, and the level of formality in the evaluation process is not uniform. Furthermore, some business schools do not use the separate academic department structure. Regardless of these differences, evaluation is typically a function of the faculty member's research, teaching, and service contributions, and precise expectations are rarely fully specified, leaving open the question of just how any particular contributions are evaluated. We use game theory to create a model of faculty efforts and outcomes within a social dilemma; and we develop interdependent social dilemmas, two social dilemmas played simultaneously. Within accounting academia, these two dilemmas represent the resource allocation among departments within a business school, and the payoff scenarios facing individual faculty within an accounting department. The interdependence arises because the payoffs available in each dilemma simultaneously depend on the outcome of the other. Our model highlights the dependence of group performance and resulting resource availability on the distribution of faculty efforts toward the attainment of personal and collective goals. The results indicate the possibility of increasing the resources available to all by recognizing a broader definition of faculty contribution. Placing faculty evaluation within the social dilemma context can improve both departmental and individual outcomes by encouraging both collective and individual efforts.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Grant & Timothy Fogarty, 1998. "Faculty evaluation as a social dilemma: a game theoretic approach," Accounting Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(3), pages 225-248.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:accted:v:7:y:1998:i:3:p:225-248
    DOI: 10.1080/096392898331162

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kreps, David M. & Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John & Wilson, Robert, 1982. "Rational cooperation in the finitely repeated prisoners' dilemma," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 245-252, August.
    2. J. S. Armstrong, 2005. "Business School Prestige ^V Research versus Teaching," General Economics and Teaching 0502009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Dawes, Robyn M & Thaler, Richard H, 1988. "Anomalies: Cooperation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 187-197, Summer.
    4. Barton Lipman, 1986. "Cooperation among egoists in Prisoners' Dilemma and Chicken games," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 51(3), pages 315-331, January.
    5. Bendor, Jonathan & Mookherjee, Dilip, 1987. "Institutional Structure and the Logic of Ongoing Collective Action," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 129-154, March.
    6. Telser, L G, 1980. "A Theory of Self-enforcing Agreements," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(1), pages 27-44, January.
    7. Velasquez, Manuel, 1996. "Why Ethics Matters: A Defense of Ethics in Business Organizations," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 201-222, April.
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