R&D Decisions: Strategy, Policy, and Disclosure

R&D Decisions: Strategy, Policy, and Disclosure

R&D Decisions: Strategy, Policy, and Disclosure

R&D Decisions: Strategy, Policy, and Disclosure

Synopsis

This book explores how research and development decisions affect all of us. They are linked inextricably to the performance of firms and of economics as a whole, and their importance means that they are of concern to a large number of policy-makers.

Excerpt

Stephen J. Procter, John Hassard and Alice Belcher

Decisions about R&D affect all of us. They are linked inextricably with the performance of firms and of economies as a whole. Their importance means that they are of concern to a large number of practitioners, policy-makers and researchers. Their scope means that their study can be approached from a wide variety of perspectives. It is hoped that this book will demonstrate the range of issues and perspectives which R&D can encompass and, at the same time, that it will bring out the elements which unite them. This introductory chapter is thus in two parts. the first describes the chapters in terms of the three sets of issues around which the book is structured: strategy and organization, policy and performance, and finance and disclosure. the second part addresses the themes which emerge from all this and which bring together contributions from the different sections of the book.

strategy and organization

In the opening chapter in this section Coombs provides an overview of thinking and practice in the area of the strategic management of technology and R&D. He observes that after the beginning of the 1970s, many British firms took steps towards both making their R&D activities ‘market-driven’ and integrating them with the broader strategies of the individual business units they served. This has led to a shift in funding away from the corporate level and to a more decentralized R&D effort. While the gains from this have been substantial, argues Coombs, such an arrangement can exacerbate the difficulties encountered by an uncompetitive technological regime, and can make it difficult for an individual business unit to react to the emergence of what have been called ‘competence-destroying’ technologies. the process of decentralization at the same time weakened the ability of corporate R&D to take up this challenge, a weakness exacerbated by a management style increasingly financially- rather than strategically-oriented. the lesson

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