Exploring Organizational Design for Openness and Collaboration in Scientific Research

Susanne Beck, Marcel LaFlamme, Robin Brehm

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Abstract

Academic scientists are increasingly expected to conduct their research in an open and collaborative manner, crossing disciplinary, organizational, and even functional boundaries to increase productivity and impact. At the same time, scientific research organizations such as universities or research institutes are facing a progressive trend towards managerialism, increasingly enmeshing organizational priorities with individual researchers' agendas and workflows. This raises the question of how and to what extent scientific organizations can facilitate or block researchers from engaging in open and collaborative research practices. We investigate this question from an organizational design perspective and explore two in-depth case studies of scientific organizations with a total of 63 interviews, 4,129 pages of secondary material, and field observations. Our analysis results in a list of 30 factors, grouped into seven clusters (strategy, leadership, processes, structure, infrastructure, people, and culture), which facilitate or block researchers engaging in open and collaborative practices. Subsequently, we reflect on these results against the backdrop of three contingencies resulting from the particularities of the science system: the scientific field, the open or collaborative practice applied, and the intensity of organizational influence exerted on researchers within the organization. Our findings contribute to the literature on the organization of science and hold meaningful implications for research policy as well as for managers of scientific organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021: Bringing the Manager Back in Management - Online
Duration: 29 Jul 20214 Aug 2021
Conference number: 81
https://aom.org/events/annual-meeting

Conference

ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2021
Number81
LocationOnline
Period29/07/202104/08/2021
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Proceedings
ISSN2151-6561

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