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Protest, Exit, or Deviance: Adjunct University Faculty Reactions to Occupational Rank-Based Mistreatment


  • Preparation of this paper was supported by NIMH Grant No. 1 R15 MH62096 01A1 awarded to the second author. The authors thank Bernd Simon, William Crano, Naomi Hall, Ariana Brooks, and an anonymous reviewer for their input during earlier phases of manuscript preparation. The data for the whole sample were analyzed for a different purpose by Smith, Cronin, and Kessler (2008).

Tracey Cronin, 6035 Meadowhill Crescent, Orleans, ON Canada K1C 5S4. E-mail:


University faculty hired for short-term contracts rated occupational rank-based mistreatment; as well as willingness to protest, leave their position, or engage in workplace deviance. How respondents reacted to mistreatment was shaped by identification with their occupational rank and source of mistreatment (administrators or colleagues). Administrative mistreatment increased willingness to protest and engage in workplace deviance for respondents who were less identified; faculty mistreatment decreased willingness to protest. Respondents who identified more with occupational rank were less sensitive to differences in mistreatment. These data suggest that if the mistreatment source “fits” the intergroup context, people will challenge the situation, but if it does not fit respondent expectations, collective challenge is less likely, particularly among people who identify less with their group.