Contribution accepted for the Workshop "HoFoNa-Ideenforum 2021", 16th September

Sarah-Rebecca Kienast will present the draft of the third paper "How does Research Collaboration link to Organizational Characteristics? The case of German Universities." of her doctoral thesis at the Workshop "HoFoNa-Ideenforum 2021" organized by the GfHf-Jahrestagung. The workshop will be on 16th of September.

Some weeks ago she discussed the aim of the paper at the Summer-PhD-Seminar organized by Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans who is scientific director of the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW). The seminar took place from 30.6.- 2.7.21.

Changes in scientific knowledge production and the science system have led to the vastly increased importance of research collaboration for scientists and universities (e.g. Gazni & Didegah 2011, Leahey & Reikowsky 2008, Adams et al. 2005). By collaborating, researchers can enhance creative research capabilities and turn competencies into novel ideas when sharing knowledge and skills (Beaver 2001, Melin 2000, Katz & Martin 1997). As competition for resources and reputation among universities has intensified collaboration is also of growing importance on the organizational level.

Formal and informal collaborations are reflected in co-published papers, that obtain higher impact and reach greater (international) visibility (Brankovic et al. 2018). Moreover, the impact and international visibility of publications are seen as universities' performance indicators and related to ranking parameters. Thus, universities strive to encourage their scientific members to collaborate – and, to different extents – facilitate forms of collaboration. But one can emphasize that researchers are primarily oriented towards their disciplinary communities why they are less interested in universities’ goals to increase amounts of collaborative research (e.g. Frost et al. 2015, Clark 1983, Crane 1972). Thus, universities face problems in initiating and influencing research collaboration.

However, research collaboration does not take place in an organizational vacuum. Universities by definition are the contexts (or the local environment conditions) in which researchers work and meet, where they find research opportunities and intellectual stimulation (e.g. Dolan et al. 2019, Hollingworth 2000, Crane 1965). In the light of organizational studies, questions arise on how universities (can) influence successful research collaboration. Influence factors of universities can be categorized in three dimensions: organizational characteristics, organizational management strategies, and organizational culture. By analyzing the literature due to the influences of universities on research collaboration we can see that results of studies concerning organizational characteristics are contradictory and incomplete (Kienast 2021, under review). As we’ve only just begun to study the effects of universities characteristics (e.g. size, reputation, disciplinary composition) my presentation combines science and organizational studies to present hypotheses and related indicators on the correlation of organizational characteristics of german universities and research collaboration.


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