The Influences on Creativity in Research and Innovation
Edited by Sven Hemlin and Carl Martin Allwood
Chapter 3: Changing academic research environments and innovative research*
Mika Nieminen Numerous changes have taken place in the academic research environment during recent decades. Because of profound economic, political and cultural changes, the whole research system seems to be in flux, ranging from governmental policies to the reorganization of research. These transformations have also provoked wide debate over the possible consequences of changes for scientific research.1 There has, however, been relatively little debate on whether such obvious changes as increasing external funding and short-term project work undermine the potential for the best possible quality in scientific work. In the following I approach this question tentatively from the perspective of innovativeness, which is usually considered as one of the focal, if not the major, hallmarks of high-standard academic research (Gulbrandsen, 2000; Hemlin and Montgomery, 1990). It can be claimed that, besides individual characteristics, organizational characteristics and processes such as resources and organizational communication affect the likelihood of innovativeness. The environment may be an even more salient factor for researchers than individual factors in innovativeness (Amabile, 1994; Hurley, 1997). If so, what kinds of consequences might one expect in academic research from the perspective of innovativeness when the research environment changes? Have the changes in research environments perhaps diminished possibilities for conducting high-standard research? The first section of the chapter deals with innovativeness theoretically. The section is heuristic, addressing the question, how should we understand the phenomenon called innovativeness in science? The following sections approach the above-mentioned questions empirically by reinterpreting some recent research results concerning Finnish universities (Nieminen, 2003; Nieminen...
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