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Factionalism and Staff Success in a Nigerian University: A Departmental Case Study

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Chapter Summary

The chapter discusses the pervasiveness of one aspect of patron-client relationships, but one that has been relatively excluded from the dominant neopatrimonial approach: factionalism, defined as competition for resources between structurally and functionally similar groups of individuals. The chapter argues that factionalism exerts a significant influence over the careers of academics in a Nigerian university. This conclusion supports the general neopatrimonial thesis: that it is personal connections rather than formal competence that exert a greater influence over access to rewards. Academic staff recruitment at USEN is dependent on a combination of factors including qualifications and where they were obtained, connections, including those to factions, ethnicity, political ideology and beliefs about the way the university should run. Logics of merit and patronage are intertwined in the careers of academic staff at USEN, such that for all but the most outstanding candidates, both are required for success.

Keywords: academic staff recruitment; factionalism; Nigerian university; staff success; USEN



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