Benchmarking presidents’ compensations in institutions of higher education relative to sustainability and other institutional practices

Niranjan Pati, Jooh Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the strategic effects of academic institutional factors including environmental, social, and economic sustainability indices on the compensation of the president of an institution of higher education (IHE). The objective is to build relationships among variables to benchmark compensation measures for IHE presidents across US universities to proliferate sustainability initiatives. Some of the variables of the study were environmental sustainability, social sustainability, cost efficiency as a measure of economic sustainability, tenure, institutional control of the university such as public or private fundraising reputation, endowment and professor’s salary. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 236 universities have been included in the study. The data for various dependent variables were studied to see the relationship between the independent and select dependent variables. The OLS regression approach was used to ascertain the relationships between the president’s salary, and a selected set of independent variables that includes the measures of sustainability. Findings – The key findings of this study is that variables such as environmental sustainability, tenure, classification, endowment, and professor salary were significantly and positively associated with the IHE president’s salary. Research limitations/implications – The current study is limited to the IHEs within the USA. Thus, the study cannot be generalized or extrapolated to other countries or contexts or cultures. Practical implications – The results of the study show that the trustees rarely use proliferation of sustainability as a criterion to compensate IHE presidents. The study concludes with the plea to trustees to benchmark sustainability across IHEs in evaluating and compensating IHE presidents. Originality/value – This paper extends the compensation study of IHE presidents to include environment, social, and economic dimensions of sustainability. These variables are important in this age where IHEs have been challenged to do more to make our planet sustainable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1500-1521
Number of pages22
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management


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