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

See all articles by Sotaro Shibayama

Sotaro Shibayama

Lund University - Department of Business Administration; University of Tokyo

Yasunori Baba

University of Tokyo

John P. Walsh

Georgia Institute of Technology

Date Written: May 2, 2013

Abstract

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

Shibayama, Sotaro and Baba, Yasunori and Walsh, John P., Adaptating Organization in Science: How Contextual Environment Affects Task Allocation of Academic Biology Laboratories (May 2, 2013). LEI-BRICK Workshop: the Organization, Economics, and Policy of Scientific Research, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2279884 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2279884

Sotaro Shibayama (Contact Author)

Lund University - Department of Business Administration ( email )

Box 117
SE-221 00 Lund, S-220 07
Sweden

University of Tokyo ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8656
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://sotaroshibayama.weebly.com/

Yasunori Baba

University of Tokyo ( email )

Hongo 7-3-1
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113-0033, Tokyo
Japan

John P. Walsh

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

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