chapter  5
36 Pages

Academic Leadership of High-Performing Research Groups

Academic excellence depends not only on the availability of creative, innovative, and enthusiastic researchers, but also on the opportunities provided by the environment they operate in (e.g., Allison & Long, 1990 ; Andrews, 1979b ; Heinze, Shapira, Rogers, & Senker, 2009 ; Hemlin, Allwood, & Martin, 2008 ; Pelz & Andrews, 1966 ). The work environment of most researchers is the research group. We focus on research groups as organizational units embedded in a research organization with researchers and support staff as group members, a research agenda, a research budget, and headed by an academic group leader (e.g., Andrews, 1979b ; Beaver, 2001 ; B. P. Cohen, Kruse, & Anbar, 1982 ; De Haan, 1994 ; Laredo, 2001 ; Laredo & Mustar, 2000 ; Rey-Rocha, Martin-Sempere, & Garzon, 2002 ; Stankiewicz, 1976 ). The job of an academic group leader is to manage his or her group by motivating the researchers, not only by creating the necessary facilities, by defining and implementing the mission and strategy, and by positioning the group internally and externally ( Sousa & Hendriks, 2008 ), but also by acquiring resources. Management of research groups is particularly important for achieving high performance because group leaders affect the conditions for a productive research environment ( Bland & Ruffin, 1992 ). Although a number of scholars underscore the positive influence of leadership and management on research performance (e.g., Babu & Sing, 1998 ; Bland & Ruffin, 1992 ; Harvey, Pettigrew, & Ferlie, 2002 ; Knorr, Mittermeir, Aichholzer, & Waller, 1979 ; Mumford, Peterson, & Robledo, 2013, this volume; Mumford, Scott, Gaddis, & Strange, 2002 ; Stankiewicz, 1976 ), studies in which specific management activities and leadership practices have a positive relation with performance are scarce. In a previous study, one of the current authors investigated the relation between specific management activities and performance, and showed that a diverse constellation of management activities positively relates to the performance of research groups ( Van der Weijden, 2007 ; Van der Weijden, de Gilder, Groenewegen, & Klasen, 2008 ).