Effects of Collaborative Networks on Satisfaction of Academic Scientists in six fields of Science and Engineering
The purpose of the dissertation is to understand the effects of collaborative networks on satisfaction of academic scientists. One of the reasons scientists collaborate is because they expect collaboration to result in higher rewards and recognition. Collaboration resembles social exchange i.e. when scientists collaborate; they exchange knowledge for rewards, and recognition. However, all collaborative exchange may not result in the same levels of rewards and recognition. Depending on the network structure within which the collaborative exchange takes place, strength of the collaborative exchange relation, status of the collaborator, and resources received from the collaborators, certain collaborative exchanges may result in greater levels of rewards and recognition compared to others, and consequently higher levels of satisfaction. However, this explanation is incomplete without the role of underlying invisible social processes or mechanisms that link network structures to rewards and recognition, and consequently satisfaction. Six social mechanisms namely social control, legitimacy, access, reciprocity, sense of personal control, validation and resource efficiency link collaborative network properties to rewards and recognition, and consequently satisfaction. This dissertation develops and tests an integrated theoretical model comprising social networks, social mechanisms, social exchange theory, and expectancy theory of motivation. Specifically, the integrated theoretical framework explains that collaborative exchange in certain network structures via social mechanisms lead to greater levels of rewards and recognition, and consequently satisfaction. This framework allows testing the indirect effects of collaborative networks on satisfaction through the mediating influence of rewards and recognition. Four hypotheses were formalized that focused on the indirect effects of four collaborative properties namely --collaborative network constraint, strong collaborative ties, superior status collaborators, and resources received from collaborators on satisfaction. Findings indicate that scientists with greater constraint in their collaborative networks, and scientists connected to a large number of superior collaborators earn lower levels of rewards, and hence report a lower satisfaction with rewards. Scientists that are connected to a large number of strong collaborative ties receive greater level of rewards, and hence report a greater level of satisfaction with rewards.