Adaptating Organization in Science: How Contextual Environment Affects Task Allocation of Academic Biology Laboratories
LEI-BRICK Workshop: the Organization, Economics, and Policy of Scientific Research, 2013
39 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 2, 2013
This study examines the contingency of organizational design in academic organizations drawing on a survey of biology laboratories in Japanese universities. It investigates the intra-laboratory task allocation between a lab head and members (e.g., junior staff, PhD students) in three research phases (i.e., planning, execution, and writing) and how different patterns of task allocation affect lab-level scientific productivity. Results suggest that organic organizational structure with limited division of labor suits basic research, where exploratory approach is common with high unpredictability, while mechanistic structure is fitter for applied research, which is relatively exploitative and predictable. Thus, academic organizations, just as industrial organizations, need to adapt their organizational design to contextual environment to maximize their performance.
Keywords: Laboratory, task allocation, contingency, division of labor, organizational design, biology
JEL Classification: I23, L23, O32, D23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation