Balancing Innovation, Quality and Efficiency in R&D Organizations

During 2004-5, our study focused on how to manage innovation while maintaining quality and efficiency in R&D organizations. We suggest that successful management of new product development is crucial for the competitiveness of Israeli high tech, which has gained worldwide recognition for its technological advancement. However, the uniqueness of a technology may lose its attractiveness if it does not meet quality requirements, and time and budget constraints. The purpose of our research was to study the factors that facilitate or inhibit the balance between innovation, quality and efficiency. The study was conducted in 42 R&D units and 28 Manufacturing units in two divisions of a large R&D organization, in the defense industry. The research was focused on three main issues:

1. During 2004-5 we collected and analyzed data at the organizational unit level. We studied whether the leadership style and team characteristics that lead to product innovation in R&D units also promote process innovation in manufacturing units. We found that managers affect innovation performances, and that different management styles are needed for promoting innovation in R&D vs. manufacturing units. A paper entitled: "œSame leadership and team characteristics, yet different effects on innovation in R&D versus manufacturing", was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Honolulu, August, 2005.

2. We examined the team composition that leads to innovative performance. We found that innovative teams were composed of a few creative team members, a few initiative-oriented members, and a few conformists, while most of the team members focused on the details of the idea implementation. A paper entitled: "œThe personal attributes that enhance individual versus team innovation", was accepted to the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, Atlanta, August, 2006, and is currently under Revise and Resubmit to Organization Science, a leading journal in the field.

3. In addition, we are now searching for the optimal cultural configuration that leads to an organizational units innovative performance, which consists of both idea generation and implementation. The cultural configuration includes the cultural values of innovation, attention to detail and outcome orientation. At this stage, we are testing for this optimal configuration and intend to publish our findings soon. This research is part of Ella Miron-Spektor's dissertation and is planned to be sent to a leading journal in the field.


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