Techniques and Perspectives for Multi-Level Analysis
3. 3.1 R&D people INTRODUCTION This chapter introduces another dimension of Research & Development performance management and evaluation: people. Human resources (HR) in R&D are managed in most organizations as a separate body from the main organizational structure of the firm, and in most cases they receive special attention, given the peculiarities of the knowledge-intensive activities performed by researchers and engineers. The topic has been debated by practitioners and academics for years, but nonetheless the existing literature does not completely satisfy the current needs and does not respond fully to a series of issues which have emerged very recently. Szakonyi (1994a) observes that although almost everyone involved in managing industrial companies believes R&D should play a vital role in sustaining and growing a company’s business, surprisingly only a small percentage of companies have world-class R&D conscious management. People operating in R&D laboratories represent crucial assets in modern industrial organizations, especially in the case of knowledge-based firms. Each researcher brings to the company his/her tacit knowledge, technical background, vocational qualifications, professional certification, workrelated know-how, work-related competence, creativity and social links with other people and organizations. These elements represent at the same time the single greatest potential asset of the firm and also one of the most troubling sources of uncertainty and management complexity. In particular, it can be argued that human resources are among the most valuable assets in innovative organizations since they play a fundamental role in the creation of competitive advantage through technological leadership. However,...
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