At the end of the day, there are always people behind any new technology or innovation. Representatives of young generations and employees working in R&D and innovation find the atmosphere and content of work highly important (Romero and Pescosolido, 2008). This effects R&D and technology management. There is a lot of discussion on related aspects in technology management literature at the organisational level. However, as Rauffet et al. (2016) indicate, individual competences are important constituents of organisational capabilities. Therefore, people-related issues are rapidly gaining momentum in R&D, innovation, technology development (Frishammar et al., 2015; Hannah and Robertson, 2015; Järvenpää and Majchrzak, 2016; Rau et al., 2016; Ritala et al., 2015; Wendelken et al., 2014).
Technology-oriented organisations are more dependent on knowledgeable, competent employees than ever (Guthrie, 2001). People as employees and entrepreneurs are the initiators and originators of technological developments (e.g., Adler, 1995; Alegre et al., 2013; Camelo-Ordaz et al., 2011; Wright et al. 1994). They are invaluable in generating ideas, collecting and combining information and knowledge, pushing ideas forward, and in accepting suggestions regarding unconventional solutions to more and less surprising problems. At the same time, they present the issue of the "human factor". Individuals are, at the end of the day, unpredictable in many ways (Glaser et al., 2015; Olander et al., 2015). There are numerous motivational, social, cognitive, informative, and other factors that play a role in how innovation processes begin, develop and finally turn out (see, e.g., Hannah and Robertson, 2015; Nickerson et al., 2007). The dispersion of the responsibility of innovation generation (Stovel and Bontis, 2002) further increases complexity.
Many people-related aspects have been addressed in earlier innovation studies. However, in many cases these are addressed from one side only, seeing some activities or features as either positive or negative. There are not many studies examining why the not-invented-here syndrome (e.g., Michailova and Husted, 2003; Antons and Piller, 2015) would be good, why predisposed (biased) views or dominance by a single individual manager (Nickerson et al., 2007) would be beneficial for innovation and organisational developments, or why positive outcomes would stem from employees leaking confidential knowledge outside the organization, for example.
Yet many paradoxical aspects can be found in innovation, and some counterintuitive aspects related to the human factor have already been revealed. For example, in general when employees can make decisions related to innovation themselves, they can act faster when needed and catch chances that would be otherwise missed. However, Glaser et al. (2015) point towards proactivity and initiative of employees to be potentially detrimental for value creation. On the other hand, some contexts may pose challenges in establishing shared understanding between individuals, or differencing interests may impede knowledge sharing for example at newly emerging interfaces (Rau et al., 2016).
Bulgurcu et al. (2010) and Hannah and Robertson (2015) have discussed the issue of people trying to do a good job by bending and breaking their organisation's confidentiality rules, and by sharing knowledge despite the attempts of the firm managers to protect core knowledge. From the management-side, setting up rules and structures provides security and the idea is to increase clarity and ease working, but employees may perceive or interpret these completely differently. Courpasson et al. (2014) suggest that employee resistance - that could generally be seen as an unwanted behaviour - can foster unintended, innovative outcomes for both individuals and the organisation. Yet another example is that high commitment and low employee turnover is not always beneficial; there is a chance that there could be more and more "Lonely wolves" (Husted and Michailova, 2010) type of R&D workers emerging in the future. These and other examples raise questions regarding the role of various human factors, the nature of their relationships, as well as the contingencies that drive these connections.
Against the above described background, we wish to receive submissions that would take a fresh look at managing the people that generate innovative technologies. In particular, we would like to include papers discussing factors that are typically associated with either positive or negative outcomes regarding innovativeness but that can, depending on context, timing, etc., generate varying innovation outcomes - even in paradoxical and counterintuitive ways. In particular, examination of the patterns of when, how, and why specific human factors, management practices, and other such aspects turn out to be positive or negative are of interest.
Theoretical, conceptual and empirical studies utilising a variety of methods from qualitative case studies to quantitative approaches are welcome. We encourage work conducted on data collected from organisations of different sizes (small and medium-sized enterprises, multinational enterprises, individual experts as freelancers etc.), and from different organisational levels - including examination at micro level. We suspect that data from different market areas can provide different kinds of results, and therefore encourage studies comparing different cultural contexts and/or having one particular context of examination.
Suitable topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- The role of people for competitiveness and cooperation in technology management
- Unconventional organisational tools for people management in technology management activities
- Organisational strategies for managing R&D employees
- Embracing cultural differences in technology management
- Contradictive issues in legal principles and organisational practices
- Employee turnover: cause of loss of knowledge assets or source of fresh new ideas?
- Innovation management from the viewpoint of strategy and management vs. R&D employees
- Downsides of intra-organisational knowledge sharing for technological developments
- Human factors promoting and/or declining productivity, efficiency, and quality of R&D
- (Over) enthusiastic employees as innovators and gatekeepers of core knowledge
- Complex linkages between external knowledge sharing and protection, and value capture
- Balancing intra-organisational knowledge sharing and protection
- Complexities of Inter-firmR&D and innovation activities
- Issues related to knowledge sharing and protection between individual experts
- The effects of voluntary and involuntary employee turnover for technology management
- Positive aspects of knowledge leakage in technology management
- Sense and emotions in technology management
Manuscripts due by: 10 October, 2017
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