The paper examines influences of doctoral study and structured early career interventions on academic work. It uses evidence from a survey in six Australian universities (n = 1158) to explore academics' engagement with research and teaching development. It regards universities as social situations that are ambiguous, presenting conflicting opportunities for growth and development and the pursuit of personal objectives. Academics' emphases on different aspects of academic work involve complex responses that are subject to many influences. It shows that doctoral work may avoid developing key skills that academics need and that the extent to which doctoral study prepares academics for different aspects of their role is different in different disciplines and institutions. It also shows that the conduct of academics in their major roles is little influenced by the training and development they engage in. The paper discusses the survey findings in terms of what constrains and what enables academics to take up particular development opportunities. It argues that to understand academic practice, analysis of how organisational influences are interpreted is needed.
- Academic formation