Accumulation and Conversion of Capitals in Professorial Careers. The Importance of Scientific Reputation, Network Relations, and Internationality in Economics and Business Studies

Thierry Rossier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper studies the different biographic pathways to an economics and business studies professor position between 1957 and 2000 on the specific case of Switzerland. It focuses on the accumulation and conversion of capitals during academic trajectories, and their relation to three types of resources: scientific reputation, network relations, and internationality. Based on an original biographical database of 411 professors and an innovative use of sequence analysis and multinomial logistic regression, it shows that the three main principles of career structuration divide them between (1) academic and extra-academic trajectories, (2) “standard” positions and executive positions in influent academic organizations, and (3) according to the timing of the accession to a professor position (“early” vs. “slower” appointments). It also shows that careers are increasingly academic between 1957 and 2000. Academic only and long full professor trajectories are linked to reputation in the scientific field (through citations in “prestigious” journals) and internationality of the professors’ profile, while an earlier appointment as professor is associated to developed scientific collaboration networks. Relatively long careers in executive positions in influent academic organizations are linked to important connections to economic, political, and administrative “elite” members (through the supervision of their PhD) as well as scientific expertise for the state, while extra-academic careers only lead to subordinate (associate) professor positions and no detention of other resources within economics and business studies whatsoever.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHigher Education
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1061-1080
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 6 February 2020


  • Business studies
  • Careers
  • Economics
  • Professor
  • Regression
  • Sequence analysis

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