Becoming a scientist: The effects of WorkGroup size and organizational climate

Karen R Seashore, Janet M. Holdsworth, Melissa S Anderson, Eric G. Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The future of the scientific enterprise is vested in the next generation of scientists who are currently enrolled in doctoral programs and fellowships in the nation's universities. Because scientific education occurs in the scientific milieu, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows are directly influenced by the organizational and contextual forces driving the conduct of scientific research. The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of industrial research support, work-group size, and organizational climate on the productivity of graduate students and postdocs and their subsequent willingness to share their research with the scientific community. In order to address this issue, we conducted a national survey of a random sample of 2,000 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the life sciences, chemical engineering, and computer science.The results of this survey show that organizational climate (as measured by multi-item scales reflecting the amount of collaboration, competition, individualism, and openness) and work-group size are significantly related to the productivity of students as well as to their willingness to share their research results with others. In addition, we found significant differences and similarities between scientific fields and between doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows. Finally, our data suggest that the presence of industrial funding enhances productivity and does not detract from willingness to share.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-336
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2007


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