By Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano
What motivates scientists to work in teams? How can we measure motivation? Why should we be concerned about motivation in science teams?
Six domains of motivation for collaboration
Scientists and science stakeholders draw on different motivations to collaborate. The literature has discussed these motivations in different ways:
1. Advancing Science: Motivations to contribute to an agenda or the progression of research and science.
2. Building Relationships: Motivations to utilize resources and/or knowledge to establish or expand connections and one’s network of collaborators.
3. Knowledge Transfer: Motivations to organize, exchange, acquire, and/or disseminate knowledge.
4. Resource Acquisition: Motivations to access, acquire, and/or deploy human, tangible, and intellectual resources.
5. Maintenance of Beliefs: Motivations to establish, protect, or build the value of science and scholarship.
6. Recognition and Reward: Motivations to access mechanisms and methods by which human and intellectual resources are recognized.
A tool to measure motivations for collaboration
The Motivation Assessment for Team Readiness Integration and Collaboration (MATRICx) is an assessment tool (available as a phone app) to measure motivations to collaborate.
The survey items listed below are representative of the motivation domains provided earlier. Responses measure the degree to which an individual can endorse each statement.
- Others’ ideas enhance my work
- Collaboration is an opportunity for me to be mentored
- Collaboration enhances my respect of other disciplines
- Collaboration on projects provides me with intellectual stimulation
- I enjoy working with other people on projects
- Collaboration requires shared project resources
- Collaboration enhances my understanding of what other disciplines do
- Collaboration enables scholarly problems to be solved more quickly
- Collaborating helps me learn new skills
- Working collaboratively on projects is fun
- I have data/materials/resources others could benefit from
- I enjoy sharing my enthusiasm for solving problems with others
- Collaboration helps me build networks
- Collaboration is an opportunity for me to mentor others
- Differing world views among collaborators are fundamental for collaboration
- Collaboration is necessary for innovation
- My past experiences with collaboration have been very successful.
The MATRICx is free to use and downloadable through the Apple Store and Google Play (for more information see http://matricx.net/downloads). The application contains definitions, individual, team, and composite outputs, as well as instructions and the basis for analysis.
Benefits of using the MATRICx
Understanding the motivations of individuals on a team can prepare leaders and other team members to be active agents in satisfying individuals’ needs as well as meeting team scientific goals.
The MATRICx can also be used as a pre-test/post-test tool after a team science training, or some other intervention geared to promoting readiness or developing interest in working on teams.
The MATRICx also provides a means for individuals and leaders to gauge how their motivations might be maximized in teams leading to higher work performance and satisfaction.
Motivation can change over the course of a career. Students may focus on, one day, having their name on a paper, working in the laboratory of an admired mentor, or maybe even having access to data otherwise not available. As researchers grow in seniority their motivations may include building professional relationships, choosing to work on a pet project, or even having the opportunity to advance science in a way unachievable earlier in a career.
For leaders, educators, scientists, facilitators, and all of those charged with the success of scientific teams, understanding what motivates individuals and how motivation should be considered in shaping roles and responsibilities, experiences and exposure, and goal setting is more likely to lead to success if we understand what will engage an individual more deeply and more intently within a team.
Although the tool was developed for biomedical and health professionals, it is likely to be more widely useful.
Do these ideas resonate with what motivates you to work in teams? If you are a team leader, what have you found useful to assess motivations in your team?
To find out more about the MATRICx and motivation domains:
Lotrecchiano, G., Mallinson, T., Leblanc-Beaudoin, T., Schwartz, L., Lazar, D. and Falk-Krzesinski, H. (2016). Motivation and threat indicators for collaboration readiness in knowledge generating teams (KPTs): A scoping review and domain analysis. Heliyon, 2, 5.
Mallinson, T., Lotrecchiano, G., Schwartz, L., Furniss, J., Leblanc-Beaudoin, T., Lazar, D. and Falk-Krzesinski, H. (2016). Pilot analysis of the Motivation Assessment for Team Readiness, Integration, and Collaboration (MATRICx) using Rasch analysis. Journal of Investigative Medicine, 64, 7: 1186-1193.
Lotrecchiano, G., Schwartz, L. and Falk-Krzesinski, H. (2020). Measuring motivation for team science collaboration in health teams. Journal of Clinical and Translational Science. 5, e84: 1–6. (Online) (DOI): https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/cts.2020.567
Biography: Gaetano R. Lotrecchiano PhD studies teams and strives to advance team and collaboration science. He is the lead Principal Investigator in the MATRICx Project. He is an Associate Professor of Clinical Research and Leadership, and University Associate Dean for Innovative and Collaborative Pedagogy at the George Washington University in Washington DC, USA.