Organisational culture, individual values and research productivity.

Callaghan, Christian William
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A South African university has obligations to societal stakeholders. One dimension of these obligations is research productivity. The extent to which these societal obligations can be met is a function of how innovative research outputs are, and of the extent to which constraints to research output, or productivity, are known, and can be managed. An extensive body of literature, including the Global Leadership and Organisational Behaviour Effectiveness (GLOBE) studies, have demonstrated the influence of organisational cultural values on organisational outcomes. Hofstede’s cultural values research studies have also demonstrated the influence of societal cultural values on societal outcomes. However, despite this body of literature, there is a lack of knowledge of the influence of organisational culture on the research productivity of academic fields. This research attempts to address this lack of knowledge through a qualitative and a quantitative study of the relationships between organisational culture and research productivity. This analysis is undertaken at the level of the academic field, which is proxied in this study as the level of the academic school. A corresponding analysis is also undertaken at the individual level. The relationship between individual values and research productivity is also investigated, to provide a holistic perspective of the relationships between both organisational cultural, as well as individual values, and research productivity, differentiated by level of analysis. On the basis of the qualitative analysis, a model of context-specific individual-level factors is also derived, which are predicted to influence research productivity. A qualitative study of research-productive academics from the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of Cape Town, the University of Johannesburg, the University of South Africa and the University of KwaZulu-Natal was used to develop theory for testing quantitatively. The quantitative study, which sampled the University of the Witwatersrand, was used to test the theory and the propositions that were developed in the qualitative portion of the study. In the quantitative study, at the level of the academic school, relationships between organisational cultural values and research productivity predicted by GLOBE organisational cultural values theory were tested quantitatively. At the individual level, relationships between individual motivational values theory and research productivity that were predicted by Schwartz’s values theory were also tested quantitatively. The model of factors that were predicted by the qualitative analysis to contribute to research productivity was also tested quantitatively. The iii qualitative and quantitative results of the study are taken to support Kuhn’s argument; that academic research outputs are not necessarily innovative, and do not necessarily represent innovative knowledge creation in this context. Findings also indicate that particular values configurations may constrain research productivity. Specifically, configurations of values associated with lower levels of innovativeness might constrain specific non-peer reviewed forms of research productivity. The results reveal a context dominated by a conflict between two societal needs, one associated with increasing enrolments of students that are not necessarily matched by infrastructure increases, or a process of massification, and the other associated with the need for more research productivity. The conflict between these two needs was found to correspond with differences between individuals that relate to the extent to which they derive their primary job satisfaction from research versus teaching. Teacher-satisfied individuals were found to be signficantly less research productive. On the basis of the research findings, recommendations are made to improve research productivity in this context. On the basis of these and other findings discussed in the main text of the thesis, recommendations for practice and for futher research are made. It is concluded that specific value configurations appear to constrain research productivity in this context and that individuals and the academic institutions for which they work need to take the potential effect of such value configurations into account in their management of research productivity.