Autonomy in the Industrial R&D Lab
Interim technical rept.
ALFRED P SLOAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT CAMBRIDGE MA
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This paper distinguishes between strategic autonomy the freedom to set ones own research agenda and operational autonomy the freedom, once a problem has been set, to attack it by means determined by oneself, within given resource constraints. The paper argues, and presents preliminary corroborating data, that the optimal position for the start of careers in the RD lab is to be low on strategic but high on operational autonomy. Most labs, however, seem to espouse a philosophy of strategic autonomy. This confusion between strategic and operational autonomy creates dilemmas and contradictions in the technical career areas.
- Administration and Management
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations