Faculty collaborative dyads: profiles and productivity
Peters, Martha Cabell
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Collaboration among faculty on research endeavors is becoming more common as the research problems being addressed are more complex and require differing skills and knowledge. Higher education institutions should be interested in understanding these collaborative relationship as a way to support and encourage them and to understand the culture and behavior of faculty. This study seeks to understand those collaborations by looking at the collaborative dyad of two faculty members as the unit of analysis. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relationship between research productivity and the demographic characteristics of faculty collaborative dyads. Using a survey methodology, data was gathered from tenured and tenure-track faculty at two research institutions about their primary research collaboration and the resultant productivity of this collaboration as measured by three outcome variables: (1) Intellectual Contributions - Published, (2) Presentations, and (3) Grants Awarded. The relationship between the demographic characteristics of gender, rank and discipline on the productivity of the dyad were studied with data gathered through an electronic survey to faculty at two institutions. A 34-item survey was distributed to 830 faculty and 207 usable surveys were received. Descriptive statistics and negative binomial regression were used to analyze the data. The results of negative binomial regression analysis of the data indicate that disciplinary homophily is significantly related to all measures of productivity while rank homophily is significantly related to Intellectual Contributions - Published and gender homophily is significantly related to Presentations. Overall, though the research supports the Similarity Attraction Paradigm theory in that homophilous dyads tend to be more productive than their heterophilous counterparts. This study adds to the growing body of knowledge about interdisciplinary collaboration, and specifically the micro-level characteristics of what productive collaborations look like. Recommendations for promoting such collaborations include mentoring of different ranks, and facilitating collaborations across disciplines that are more different from each other than would typically be found in a research collaboration.