Composition of Junior Research Groups and PhD Completion Rate: Disciplinary Differences and Policy Implications
University of Zurich, Institute of Business Administration, UZH Business Working Paper No. 388, 2015
30 Pages Posted: 12 Jan 2021
Date Written: February 2015
This paper explores the link between the composition and the performance of junior research groups. We argue that the heterogeneity-performance link depends on the type of heterogeneity (cultural vs. study field) and on the disciplinary area. We test our hypotheses on a data set of 45 junior research groups and find a U-shaped relation between cultural heterogeneity and performance in the humanities and social sciences, but no link between the two in the natural sciences. The link between study field heterogeneity and performance in the natural sciences is negative, in the humanities and social sciences study field heterogeneity and performance are not related. Interaction within the group helps reap the benefits of heterogeneity. Our results are derived in the context of junior research groups in Germany, but are generalizable to other countries and contexts where PhD education is taking part in groups.
Keywords: research groups, disciplinary areas, study field heterogeneity, cultural heterogeneity, performance, group interaction
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