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Exploring Trade-offs in the Organization of Scientific Work: Collaboration and Scientific Reward

Author

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  • Michaël Bikard

    () (London Business School, London NW1 4SA, United Kingdom)

  • Fiona Murray

    () (MIT Sloan School of Management, Massaschusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142; and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

  • Joshua S. Gans

    () (Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6, Canada; and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138)

Abstract

When do scientists and other innovators organize into collaborative teams, and why do they do so for some projects and not others? At the core of this important organizational choice is, we argue, a trade-off scientists make between the productive efficiency of collaboration and the credit allocation that arises after the completion of collaborative work. In this paper, we explore this trade-off by developing a model to structure our understanding of the factors shaping researcher collaborative choices, in particular the implicit allocation of credit among participants in scientific projects. We then use the annual research activity of 661 faculty scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology over a 31-year period to explore the trade-off between collaboration and reward at the individual faculty level and to infer critical parameters in the collaborative organization of scientific work. This paper was accepted by Lee Fleming, entrepreneurship and innovation .

Suggested Citation

  • Michaël Bikard & Fiona Murray & Joshua S. Gans, 2015. "Exploring Trade-offs in the Organization of Scientific Work: Collaboration and Scientific Reward," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(7), pages 1473-1495, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:61:y:2015:i:7:p:1473-1495
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2014.2052
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ayoubi, Charles & Pezzoni, Michele & Visentin, Fabiana, 2017. "At the origins of learning: Absorbing knowledge flows from within the team," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 374-387.
    2. repec:cje:issued:v:51:y:2018:i:4:p:1419-1459 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Annamaria Conti & Christopher C. Liu, 2014. "The (Changing) Knowledge Production Function: Evidence from the MIT Department of Biology for 1970-2000," NBER Working Papers 20037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Sascha Baghestanian & Sergey V. Popov, 2018. "On publication, refereeing and working hard," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1419-1459, November.
    5. repec:bla:stratm:v:39:y:2018:i:4:p:977-1002 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:infome:v:11:y:2017:i:2:p:598-607 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Galashin Mikhail & Popov Sergey V., 2016. "Teamwork Efficiency and Company Size," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 337-366, January.
    8. Annamaria Conti & Christopher C. Liu, 2014. "The (Changing) Knowledge Production Function: Evidence from the MIT Department of Biology for 1970–2000," NBER Chapters,in: The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, pages 49-74 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    science; collaboration; academic science; productivity; scientific credit;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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