Power dynamics can be an issue in the deliberation of search committees. Often, faculty of different rank and stature are present on the same committee. It is important to take steps to prevent power dynamics from affecting search committee deliberations. The hiring manager should carefully select the search committee to avoid issues of power dynamics and establish expectations to mitigate those that cannot be avoided.
Considerations regarding the selection of the search advocate: When the search advocate is from outside the College and Department or School, it means they have less of a vested interest in the outcome. They may be able to aid in having all committee members feel heard and safe in stating their opinions.
Considerations in selecting a committee chair: Individuals that are good at listening, collaborating and encouraging others to voice their opinions should be sought. The chair not only drives the processes and schedules of the committee, but also the committee’s culture. An open and transparent chair is required and the chair and the advocate should work closely together.
Committee composition: Having employees and their supervisors on the same committee should be avoided. The risk of “group think” or silencing of lower-power committee members increases when these reporting relationships exist on a committee.