The Influences on Creativity in Research and Innovation
Edited by Sven Hemlin and Carl Martin Allwood
Chapter 6: Cross-national variation in knowledge search and exchange activities: optoelectronics suppliers in Britain and France
Geoff Mason, Jean-Paul Beltramo and Jean-Jacques Paul INTRODUCTION1 In recent years corporate managers have paid increasing attention to ways in which the creativity of their organizations might be enhanced as a means of responding to more intense competitive pressures in international product markets and the speeding up of innovation cycles. In particular, it is recognized that expansion of creativity and innovative potential at enterprise level depends greatly on the ways in which highly-qualified engineers and scientists are recruited, trained and deployed. Yet employers hardly have a free hand in making such choices. On the contrary, cross-country comparisons suggest that, wherever they are based, enterprises typically adjust to countryspecific characteristics of higher education structures and high-level labour markets in developing strategies for recruitment and deployment of highlyqualified personnel. For example, in comparisons of matched samples of production and research establishments in the British and German chemicals, mechanical engineering and electronics industries, Mason and Wagner (1994, 1999, 2000) found that the very different predominant criteria for recruitment of engineers and scientists in each country reflected marked differences in national–institutional arrangements for higher education. Thus in Germany nearly all employers emphasized their preference for the higher level of theoretical knowledge signified by MSc- and PhD-level qualifications which constitute a much larger proportion of higher education qualifications in Germany than in Britain. Conversely in Britain the great majority of engineers and scientists enter employment after completion of first (bachelor-level) degrees and British employers typically placed a high value on the work 126 Optoelectronics...
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