Understanding Collaboration in a Research Network: The Role of Trust

TitleUnderstanding Collaboration in a Research Network: The Role of Trust
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsHurst Z, Gwendwr M, Friedrichsen C, Wulfhorst J.D
Conference NameInternational Association for Society and Natural Resources
Date Published3/30/2022
ARIS Log Number393237
Keywordsbehavioral intentions, networks, organizational structure, scientific networks

The agricultural research community has pushed to increase the impact of research via the development of scientific networks. These networks strive for multi-site, coordinated research, which is frequently administered within an organizational structure. In any research process, there are uncertainties regarding its outcomes, which can be compounded in a network setting because research must fit within a researcher social network and organizational structure. Researchers must be willing to accept a level of vulnerability in relation to their research outcomes. Given such a dynamic, it is likely that trust will play an important role in researchers’ involvement with the network organization. To understand the role of trust in collaboration, we evaluated researcher trust, collaboration behavior, and behavioral intentions within a science network using an online questionnaire. We asked researchers about their research activities and intentions, trust, and their perspectives regarding the research network. We found support for four types of trust among researchers: affective, procedural, dispositional and rational. Using a regression analysis, we found that trust does play a role in researchers’ behavioral intentions, however, not all forms of trust were related to behavioral intentions nor were they positively associated with collaboration. Based upon our findings, we provide theoretical insights about collaboration, as well as, recommendations to help foster collaboration within research networks and among researchers more generally.