Scientific Ambidexterity and Doctoral Mentoring: Does Academics’ Involvement in Commercial Science Influence Mentoring in East-Asian Programs?
Benavides, Maria Del Rosario
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This thesis is in the area of sociology of science. It carries the legacy of Robert K. Merton by addressing two concepts -- scientific ambidexterity (SA) and doctoral science mentoring -- germane to the knowledge production process that are increasingly manifested in contemporary academic science. In regards to SA, I focus on two axes of activities that academics are increasingly expected to engage in and balance: the axis of research collaboration, and of techno-scientific productivity. Each axis represents the tension between the demands of academic science and that of commercial science as experienced by academics. To advance understanding of SA’s impact on the socialization of future scientists to scientific life, I examine the relationship between academics’ top journal publication and patent generation, and their involvement in academic and in commercial research collaborations on the one hand; and academics’ interactions, mentoring practices, and the research experience they provide their doctoral students, on the other hand. I test the hypothesis that ambidextrous academics differ from their non-ambidextrous counterparts in terms of mentor-mentee interaction, mentoring practices, and the research experience they provide their doctoral students. I used survey data collected in summer 2013 from 105 chemical scientists in Japan, Singapore, and Taiwan. I utilized principal component analysis for data reduction, and performed normal error regression analysis to examine relationships between my independent and dependent variables. My results indicated that SA is linked to doctoral mentoring, but not to the extent that every axis of SA shapes every aspect of doctoral mentoring. Between SA in research collaboration and SA in techno-scientific productivity, the former has more to do with mentor-mentee interaction, with mentoring practices, and with research experience than the latter. In other words, between the collaborative and the productivity axes of SA, it is axis of collaboration that has greater impact on doctoral mentoring. My results have important implications for international science training policy.