The Psychological Work Climate of Researchers
Gender, Nationality, and their Interaction with Career Level and Care for Children in a Large German Research Organization
Purpose: This study examines the relationship between gender, nationality, care responsibilities for children, and the psychological work climate of researchers. Basic Design: Based on a dataset of approximately 2,900 cases, the main effects of gender and nationality, their interaction effect and the interaction effects of gender with care responsibilities for minor children, and with hierarchical position are considered in relation to work climate. Dummy regressions and t-tests were performed to estimate and compare the means and regression parameters of the perceived group climate and the view of leaders as evaluated by researchers. The dataset used was taken from a full survey of employees of the Max Planck Society, which is one of Germany’s largest research organizations with over 80 facilities and institutes in various disciplines and a focus on basic research. Results: Gender differences concerning the evaluation of the work climate are particularly pronounced among doctoral candidates and researchers who have a non-EU nationality. Gender gaps increasingly level out with each successive career step. Additionally, a main effect of gender and a weak interaction of gender and care responsibility for minor children was supported by the data. A main effect of nationality on work climate ratings was found but could not be meaningfully interpreted. Interpretation and Relevance: The interaction effect between gender and the position of a researcher can be interpreted as being a product of the filtering mechanism of the research system. With this interpretation, the results of the study can plausibly be explained in the light of previous research that concludes that female researchers face higher career hurdles than male researchers.