Factors Influencing Faculty Research Productivity: Evidence from AACSB Accredited Schools in the GCC Countries

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ABSTRACT

This research reports the results of a survey investigating faculty research productivity. The aim of the study was to document the influence of series of factors on faculty research productivity and the corresponding level of satisfaction with their availability in an environmentally specific context of the GCC countries. In addition, the study attempted to ascertain the presence of any significant differences that existed between the faculty's preference and those of university's expectations with respect to the time allocation among the faculty work related activities. The overall results show a significant disparity between the perceived importance of factors influencing research productivity and the level of satisfaction with their availability. The results also show faculty's preference for allocating more time to research and other scholarly activities than the university administrators expect or university environment permits. The findings of this study might be of interest to both the faculty and the university administrators in developing an environment more conducive to research and scholarship. Notwithstanding certain limitations, the results of this study may also be used by the university administrators in the region to coordinate activities aimed at improving faculty scholarly productivity.

INTRODUCTION

The multi-dimensional nature of faculty work (i.e., teaching, research, scholarship/professional growth, and service) is reflected in institutional mission statements and the reward systems of virtually all colleges and universities. While teaching remains a primary function, the particular importance of research and scholarship for most universities remain evident. It is a widely held belief that competing demands of teaching, advising, service, and other professional responsibilities are the biggest challenge to the pursuit of faculty research and scholarship.

Strong research profile adds to institutional reputation, visibility, and recognition. For that reason, and a host of others, faculty research output remains a dominant concern for academic institutions. Research and other forms of scholarly activities appear to be equally important to the individual faculty as they bring personal and professional recognition and rewards. Despite the acclaimed recognition of the significance of research for both the institution and the faculty, a wide variation of its production is found among faculty and at different institutions.

To date virtually all of the published studies dealing with faculty research performance--including factors influencing its productivity--have focused on the North American and/or Western European academic settings. This study asserts that the findings of these studies do not necessarily hold true (or apply) to other regions of the world, especially to those of developing countries. The findings of a comprehensive study by Long et al., (1998) provide the empirical support for the above assertion. According to that study, the quality and quantity of faculty research productivity had a significant relationship with the academic unit in which faculty were employed. This assertion is predicated on the notion that academic units in different parts of the world have unique environmental characteristics (in terms of their culture, organizational structure, governance, and alike); and accordingly, issues related to research productivity should be investigated in the relevant environmental context.

It is believed research aimed at understanding environmentally specific factors that influence faculty research productivity would assist academic institutions to induce intellectual capital (i.e., creation of knowledge) and play a crucial role in the academic life of faculty in ways that would advance the interests of the institution itself, the faculty, and those of the society. Such seemingly important research in many parts of the world seems not to have received the attention it deserves. …