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Science: a Magical Alliance of Practice and Research

Fernholz(Ogorodnikova), Olga LU (2009) SSTN20 20091
CIRCLE
Abstract
The complexity with which modern science develops and drives the scientific community to reorganise makes it important to analyse what organisational forms research activity takes and why. Collaboration becomes a flexible arrangement designed to meet scientific challenges by scientists and non-scientists in common. It is increasingly recognised to be the best, or even perhaps the only way of achieving modern scientific ambitions. This thesis investigates the organisation of scientific work of a single research group - QUANTOP, the Danish National Research Foundation Center for quantum optics at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
In my thesis I aim to describe, define and explain how and why the community of physicists in... (More)
The complexity with which modern science develops and drives the scientific community to reorganise makes it important to analyse what organisational forms research activity takes and why. Collaboration becomes a flexible arrangement designed to meet scientific challenges by scientists and non-scientists in common. It is increasingly recognised to be the best, or even perhaps the only way of achieving modern scientific ambitions. This thesis investigates the organisation of scientific work of a single research group - QUANTOP, the Danish National Research Foundation Center for quantum optics at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
In my thesis I aim to describe, define and explain how and why the community of physicists in QUANTOP organises itself and collaborates in fundamental research in physics. The theories of scientific collaborations (Schrum et al., 2007), epistemic cultures (Knorr Cetina, 1999), and the classical study of bureaucracy (Weber, 1946) have been combined to form the theoretical framework for the research and the basis for 19 interviews with the scientific and administrative staff in QUANTOP. It has been found that the Centre displays features of both non-bureaucratic and semi-bureaucratic type of organisation. Formalisation, division of labour, hierarchy and division of authority are present to various degrees depending on the level at which work and collaborative interactions take place. At the level of an individual scientist, daily work and collaboration have no strictly regulated routines, are free from predefined requirements, organisational formalisation is minimal, division of labour co-exists with flexibility, negotiation of research strategies is inclusive and consensus is more important than hierarchy. At the level of the Center, implications exist towards a more bureaucratic structure of scientific research and external collaborations. Decisions about the main research direction and major administrative questions are made by the scientific leader. Accountability for research funds, commitment to scientific goals and productivity, and involvement into collaborative work with the scientists from institutions throughout the world necessitate a higher level of formalisation.
It has thus been concluded that the content and the form of the scientific work in QUANTOP are interrelated. Overlapping, they co-produce the organisational structure of the Centre. Research techniques (both experimental set-ups and analytical procedures) may integrate or separate the scientists, regulating their autonomy and governance, thus, shaping the organisational form the scientific work takes. The findings of the thesis research concur with Knorr Cetina’s theory of epistemic cultures (1999) which claims the ability of technical objects to shape the structure and management of research groups. In this sense, QUANTOP has its epistemic culture shaped by technological needs and research practices operating in the field of quantum optics. (Less)
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author
Fernholz(Ogorodnikova), Olga LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Organisational Structure of Scientific Work and Collaboration of the Fundamental Science Institution. Case Study of the Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Quantum Optics 'QUANTOP', the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
course
SSTN20 20091
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
fundamental science, organisational structure, epistemic culture, bureaucracy, scientific collaboration
language
English
id
1454205
date added to LUP
2009-10-20 08:06:14
date last changed
2012-02-27 14:55:49
@misc{1454205,
  abstract     = {The complexity with which modern science develops and drives the scientific community to reorganise makes it important to analyse what organisational forms research activity takes and why. Collaboration becomes a flexible arrangement designed to meet scientific challenges by scientists and non-scientists in common. It is increasingly recognised to be the best, or even perhaps the only way of achieving modern scientific ambitions. This thesis investigates the organisation of scientific work of a single research group - QUANTOP, the Danish National Research Foundation Center for quantum optics at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen.
In my thesis I aim to describe, define and explain how and why the community of physicists in QUANTOP organises itself and collaborates in fundamental research in physics. The theories of scientific collaborations (Schrum et al., 2007), epistemic cultures (Knorr Cetina, 1999), and the classical study of bureaucracy (Weber, 1946) have been combined to form the theoretical framework for the research and the basis for 19 interviews with the scientific and administrative staff in QUANTOP. It has been found that the Centre displays features of both non-bureaucratic and semi-bureaucratic type of organisation. Formalisation, division of labour, hierarchy and division of authority are present to various degrees depending on the level at which work and collaborative interactions take place. At the level of an individual scientist, daily work and collaboration have no strictly regulated routines, are free from predefined requirements, organisational formalisation is minimal, division of labour co-exists with flexibility, negotiation of research strategies is inclusive and consensus is more important than hierarchy. At the level of the Center, implications exist towards a more bureaucratic structure of scientific research and external collaborations. Decisions about the main research direction and major administrative questions are made by the scientific leader. Accountability for research funds, commitment to scientific goals and productivity, and involvement into collaborative work with the scientists from institutions throughout the world necessitate a higher level of formalisation.
It has thus been concluded that the content and the form of the scientific work in QUANTOP are interrelated. Overlapping, they co-produce the organisational structure of the Centre. Research techniques (both experimental set-ups and analytical procedures) may integrate or separate the scientists, regulating their autonomy and governance, thus, shaping the organisational form the scientific work takes. The findings of the thesis research concur with Knorr Cetina’s theory of epistemic cultures (1999) which claims the ability of technical objects to shape the structure and management of research groups. In this sense, QUANTOP has its epistemic culture shaped by technological needs and research practices operating in the field of quantum optics.},
  author       = {Fernholz(Ogorodnikova), Olga},
  keyword      = {fundamental science,organisational structure,epistemic culture,bureaucracy,scientific collaboration},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Science: a Magical Alliance of Practice and Research},
  year         = {2009},
}