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date: 03 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, we propose the use of the Portfolio Model of Adaptability (PMA) to help faculty manage their career advancement in academia. We begin with an overview of complexity theory as it relates to academic environments and describe several conceptual models for understanding the organizational and interpersonal dynamics within colleges and universities. In viewing the academic environment through the perspective of a Lewinian force-field analysis, we recommend the use of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis. We also illustrate the importance of Positionality when conducting a force-field analysis or a SWOT analysis. In addition, we argue that Positionality needs to be understood from a person–environment fit perspective. Career success is viewed as achievement of optimal fit at the various levels. Finally, we move to the central theme of our chapter, which is the application of the Portfolio Model of Adaptability to help us manage this complexity and prevailing and countervailing forces within our academic environment when charting a course toward a successful academic career. The Portfolio Model is described and followed by examples of the application of the model to the academic environment across the different levels of person–environment fit.

Keywords: Career advancement, Academic careers, Portfolio model, Positionality, Person–environment fit

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