In contemporary global environments there is a sense in which the academic profession is increasingly embedded within layers of relationships, within and between institutions, and across continents. Traditionally these have centred around disciplinary networks, but increasingly they reflect other activities, such as knowledge exchange and professional practice. It has also long been recognised that extended academic networks are likely to transcend the relationship of faculty with individual institutions. At the same time, however, within increasingly complex institutional structures, the perceptions of individuals are likely to be shaped by a local network of relationships, which can overlay formal reporting lines. The significance of such overlapping networks of relationships may be heightened because there is no formal, superordinate professional body across disciplines, such as those associated with medical, legal and health professions, with which individuals identify closely.