I’m sure this question has been addressed in the educational literature to which I do not currently have electronic access.
The question for the day is whether a department that has, say, a 10-year record of awarding tenure to every faculty member who has come up for evaluation is one that has standards that are too low.
One might argue that such an outcome would be the result of outstanding and prescient recruiting of new faculty. Alternatively, superb resources and an enriching collaborative environment might promote such a culture of success.
Another reason might be that underperforming faculty members are counseled early, perhaps at their mid-review, that tenure is unlikely. Those faculty then either choose to go to a non-tenure track teaching position or seek work elsewhere.
So, would a 100% tenure-award rate always mean that a department’s evaluation standards were substandard?