Researching together: Aligning academic employees with the institution’s research strategy

Researching together: Aligning academic employees with the institution’s research strategy

Research strategy is at the top agenda of universities’ strategic planning. It has been argued that aligning employees’ actions with the organizational strategic goals is one of most critical success factors of strategy implementation. Despite much discussion among scholars and practitioners, there is still limited knowledge on how universities can stimulate their academic staff members’ commitment and willingness to engage in behaviors that contribute to the realization of the institution’s research strategy.

With a qualitative approach and within a critical research framework, this paper aims to suggest ways to stimulate employee actions that is consistent with the company’s strategy; that is Strategically Aligned Behavior (SAB). The intention of this theory-building is towards bridging the gaps between research strategy formulation and employees’ day-to-day activities. Based on strategic alignment and research productivity literature, our paper submits that academics’ strategic knowledge, research competence, autonomy and rewards play a role in stimulating SAB.

Although, an increase in research outputs among African universities has been recorded in recent years, their endeavors to align all academic employees with the research strategy is crucial to the overall success of the institution strategic goals. By exploring the antecedents to stimulate SAB among academic staff members, universities are able to increase the amount of strategically aligned employees, embed research thinking in the daily routines of academics, and encourage a more action-related behavior towards the implementation of a research strategy. There are avenues for more research in this area of inquiry. Hence, further research is recommended.