This chapter uses the structure-conductperformance paradigm to examine weaknesses in the economic, social and institutional aspects of research that contribute to ineffective strategy and low productivity.
Structure of the research sector arises in the nature of research subjects, political decisions about the funding and objectives of research and institutional arrangements of research funders and of universities that house research.
Conduct – which can be varied from one decision to the next in response to structural influences – is reflected in decisions by people at the centre of research funding, management and execution that determine choice of research topic, allocation of research funds and resources, researchers’ strategy and practices and the business and editorial practices of journals that communicate research findings.
Four factors under human control have held back knowledge accumulation and theory development: absence of the right economic levers in research; poor methodology; the wrong social structure and climate; and lack of real-world discipline. The principal institutional shortcomings of research lie in practices which afford researchers the right to self-determine what they research and how; and employ subjective criteria in opaque decisions around researchers’ tenure, promotion, awards and resources.