The relationships and differences in how academic staff perceive their work and organisation are of great importance for human resource strategies in the higher education sector. The present study examines work-related attitudes of academic staff, namely job satisfaction, self-efficacy and organisational commitment. The purpose is to analyse how these attitudes differ among groups of individuals. Results show that there is an alternative way of classifying academic staff into distinct groups based on work-related attitudes apart from the conventional classification based on position alone. Findings suggest that university managers should be careful in balancing between different systems of control or incentive. © 2005, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.