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Does greater diversification increase individual productivity? The moderating effect of attention allocation

Mustapha Belkhouja, Senda Fattoum and Hyungseok Yoon ()

Research Policy, 2021, vol. 50, issue 6

Abstract: Despite the consensus on the “double‐edged sword” effect of diversification (of knowledge and collaborators) on individual performance, little is known about the contingencies that affect the relationship between diversification and individual productivity. Drawing on the attention-based view, we theorize the moderating role of attention allocation to advance our understanding of the curvilinear relationship between diversification (of knowledge and collaborators) and individual productivity. Relevant hypotheses are tested using a longitudinal sample of more than 25,000 individual scholars. Our analysis reveals that although a moderate level of knowledge diversification is optimal for research productivity when the level of cognitive attention is low, a high level of knowledge diversification is more beneficial for research productivity when the level of cognitive attention is high. Furthermore, we show that a moderate level of collaborator diversification, coupled with a high level of collaborative attention, is optimal for research productivity. Our study provides important implications for highly skilled and creative individuals.

Keywords: Attention; Cognition; Collaboration; Diversification; Research productivity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2021.104256

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