Enabling Collaborative Work in Higher Education: An Exploration of Enhancing Research Collaborations Within an Institution
In a series of articles, we will present the newest in research administration from the Journal of Research Administration. Read the full JRA here.
Higher education institutions are facing an increasing demand to collaborate with each other in the knowledge economy. Yet, research on how higher education management enhances collaborative work is rare. This paper takes research collaboration as an example and presents a provisional exploration initiated by a higher education institution in Singapore to enhance collaborations among researchers within the institution. The paper first explores three key challenges (i.e., harnessing differences, avoiding counterproductive coercing of collaborations, and optimizing team size) and introduces a social network perspective as a means to understand research collaboration. It uses analytic tools from Social Network Analysis to provide insight into the patterns and dynamics of collaborations among researchers within the institution. The insights are used to inform the institution’s formulation of strategies to enhance research collaboration, including strategies for research development, research community engagement and talent retention. Critical considerations are given to the ways in which management might adopt and adapt a social network perspective to facilitate collaborative work in higher education. Exploring the utility of social theories and tools for enhancing collaborative work in higher education contributes to ‘importing’ theories to higher education research, particularly the institutional management and the knowledge and research themes of higher education research.
Read the full manuscript here.
Jun Song Huang, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Andrew Brown, UCL Institute of Education & University of Newcastle