Paper Session: Creating Connections and Collaborative Environments to Support Team Science

Tuesday, August 2, 2022
11:30 PM - 12:45 PM ET

The Mediating Effect of Team Experience in the Work Environment

Tony Lingham

Abstract: Since the late 1990s scholars have highlighted that team experience is central to understanding teams in their work context. This study focuses on the mediating effect of team experience in the work environment guided by a research inquiry to evaluate the mediating effect of team experience on Psychological Job Control, Job Satisfaction, and Satisfaction with Life. A quantitative research design is employed including path analysis as the analytical approach since the research questions focused on the mediating effects of Team Experience. A total of 524 complete responses are used in this study. Three sets of hypotheses were tested using path analysis. The results show that all three sets of hypotheses are supported. All direct paths with Team Experience as the mediating variable had lower loadings than the direct paths without mediation. Partial mediation of Team Experience was observed for Psychological Job Control and Job Satisfaction. An unexpected finding is that Team Experience fully mediated Satisfaction with Life. Team Experience fully mediated for leaders to Satisfaction of Life; Team Experience fully mediated for team members to Satisfaction of Life; and Team Experience fully mediated for both team leaders and members to Satisfaction of Life. This research study highlights the significance of lived experiences in teams in the work context. Team experiences in the work environment can range from exceptional to extremely frustrating and is a phenomenon co-created by team leaders and members. The researchers sought to understand the mediating effect team experience has on team leaders and members on the outcome variables as well as how team experience might mediate the collective influences of all team members. The goal of validating the Team Experience scale was achieved by addressing a more general population of those working in teams. Findings in this study show that it is critical that team training programs include helping team leaders and members learn how to collectively influence outcomes to maximize a positive experience of teamwork. This is important in science teams involving leaders and members from diverse disciplines and scientific expertise. Training team leaders alone is helpful but training involving all team members has a greater positive impact on collaboration and outcomes. Findings demonstrate that training teams focusing on shifting team experience towards the positive end of the continuum and using the three outcome variables and to promote satisfaction with life in our already stressful work environment. As this study does not control for industries or types of teams. Future studies could look at the mediation of team experience at work focusing on specific industries and science teams. 

A Longitudinal Study of Collaboration Dynamics and Scientific Productivity of Health Researchers: The Role of New and Existing Ties

Reza Yousefi

Abstract: Introduction: Conducting research has become an increasingly collaborative endeavor where researchers join forces in knowledge creation. Interest in research about the characteristics of collaborative research networks and factors that contribute to their effectiveness has increased. In managing one's research network, a key decision is whether to strengthen existing collaborations or start new ones. We assessed the impact of collaboration dynamics on the scientific productivity of health researchers at a US academic institution in a longitudinal analysis. Methods: In 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 clinical and basic sciences investigators at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry responded to an online survey listing their research collaborators. For each respondent, we also retrieved the number of their publications in SCOPUS (divided into 2011-15 and 2016-20 durations to accommodate the gap between collaboration and publication). Name lists were transformed into a collaboration network corresponding to two-time points (merged 2011-13 and 2015-17). We classified respondents based on their quartile of baseline publication count. We developed regression models to predict respondents' number of publications over time by the number of stable vs. new collaborations, new collaborations with junior vs. senior peers, and new collaborations with peers from the same vs. different departments. Findings: Out of 167 faculty members who responded to the survey in both time points, 34% were female, and 64% held associate professor or lower academic ranks. The regression analysis showed that new collaborations significantly contributed to research productivity (increase in the number of publications) over time, only for high performing respondents (quartiles 3 and 4 of baseline publication count). The number of stable collaborations did not positively contribute to productivity. High performers benefited significantly if they increased the number of new collaborations with junior peers (associate professor or lower) and those affiliated with the same department. The number of new collaborations with senior scholars (full professors) and peers in other departments did not significantly improve productivity. Conclusion: Scholars who are high performing at baseline can significantly benefit from forming new collaborative relationships with junior scholars from their own departments. This contradicts previous findings suggesting that persistence in research relationships would be beneficial for productivity. For scholars who perform below average compared to their peers at baseline, forming new collaborations or maintaining stable ones and characteristics of collaborators did not influence productivity over time.

Establishing a Geographically-Distributed Science and Technology Center in Ocean Science

Elizabeth Kujawinski

Abstract: The Science & Technology Center program is a unique funding mechanism at the National Science Foundation, wherein a large, sustained, investment fosters an integrated research, education, and outreach initiative to tackle a persistent science question. The Center for Chemical Currencies of a Microbial Planet (C-CoMP) was established in October 2021 to promote a mechanistic understanding of the chemical currencies in marine microbial systems in the context of a changing planet and through increased participation in the ocean sciences. Our Center is geographically distributed across the US and brings together chemists, biologists, modelers, data scientists and education researchers through common research goals and education programming. To jumpstart our research integrations, we developed an initial research goal to which all senior personnel could contribute. Specifically, we will address the concept of carbon-use-efficiency, a parameter that describes a microbe's allocation of consumed carbon among biomass, waste products and carbon dioxide (respiration). Current estimates of this parameter are poorly constrained, making them relatively useless for modeling efforts; in addition, current biogeochemical models use one value to describe this parameter, ignoring the biological reality that this parameter likely varies greatly between microbes and/or food source. Progress towards understanding the variability of this parameter along axes of microbial composition and of carbon source will significantly improve models to predict the response of this microbiome to changing ocean conditions. In this presentation, we will describe accomplishments, challenges and lessons learned from our first year of C-CoMP, from implementing our initial research goal to establishing our educational programs. We use a combination of communication and data sharing tools to bring together researchers across knowledge domains, different institutions, and various backgrounds. We hold regular meetings to inform our members of progress along all fronts and we sponsor data-sharing and networking opportunities to build our community. Altogether, we strive to develop a Center culture focused on inclusion, transparency, and common purpose.