Task complementarity in academic work: a study of the relationship between research, education and third mission tasks among university professors
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Professors have multiple responsibilities and tasks. They should contribute to research, teaching and ‘third mission’ activities such as commercialisation of scientific knowledge and industry collaboration. These tasks are expected to be complementary and that synergies between different tasks can lead to positive outcomes. But are professors’ work tasks really complementary or are they rather characterised by trade-offs, and what are the implications of having multiple tasks for academic performance? This study of tenured academic staff in Norwegian universities, observe that there are many positive associations between academic tasks. The data supports the assumption that student supervision is positive for research performance, as is research collaboration with public and private organisations. We also find a positive association between student supervision and participation in third mission activities, but only with research collaboration and not commercialisation activities. The data also indicates that the combined effect of participation in third mission and teaching activities is neither negative nor positive for research performance, and as such we do not find indications that having multiple task is negative for work performance in the form of research output.