Write More Articles, Get More Grants: The Impact of Department Climate on Faculty Research Productivity.J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2017 05; 26(5):587-596.JW
Many studies find that female faculty in academic medicine, science, and engineering experience adverse workplace climates. This study longitudinally investigates whether department climate is associated with future research productivity and whether the associations are stronger for female than male faculty.
Two waves of a faculty climate survey, institutional grant records, and publication records were collected for 789 faculties in academic medicine, science, and engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison between 2000 and 2010. Research productivity was measured as Number of Publications and Number of Grants awarded, and department climate was measured with scales for professional interactions, department decision-making practices, climate for underrepresented groups, and work/life balance. Ordinary least squares and negative binomial regression methods were used to assess gender differences in productivity, influences of department climate on productivity, and gender differences in effects of climate on productivity.
Female faculty published fewer articles and were awarded fewer grants in the baseline period, but their productivity did not differ from male faculty on these measures in subsequent years. Number of Publications was positively affected by professional interactions, but negatively affected by positive work/life balance. Number of Grants awarded was positively affected by climate for underrepresented groups. These main effects did not differ by gender; however, some three-way interactions illuminated how different aspects of department climate affected productivity differently for men and women in specific situations.
In perhaps the first study to assess the longitudinal impact of department climate on faculty research productivity, positive department climate is associated with significantly greater productivity for all faculty-women and men. However, some positive aspects of climate (specifically, work/life balance) may be associated with lower productivity for some female faculty at specific career periods. These findings suggest that departments that wish to increase grants and publications would be wise to foster a positive workplace climate.