DECISION MAKING IN THE MANAGEMENT OF RESEARCH AND ADVANCED DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES

The problem of managing the research and advanced development phases of a company operating in a rapidly changing technology is considered. People may differ as to exact content of the activities called research and advanced development. It is assumed the defining characteristics are that 1 ) specialized knowledge is essential in the performance of the work and 2 ) the outcome of the work cannot be accurately predicted. Traditional management techniques are not well adapted to situations with these characteristics. An approach to the development of a decision-making procedure for managing activities in which managers have difficulty understanding the significant problems and making realistic estimates of the costs and values of particular alternatives is presented here. Unless management can make a major contribution in the planning of research-type activities, it will probably not make an important contribution toward ensuring that money spent on research-type activities actually benefits the company. Managements unique contributions to the planning of research-type activities is in making decisions on the basis of ( very ) incomplete data in technical and nontechnical areas. However, decisions of this kind are difficult and risky. If management is not prepared to invest the effort and resources required to make as good decisions as possible, it should refrain from making decisions at all in the planning of research-type activities. To summarize, then, individuals responsible for leading research-type activities should concentrate their efforts in areas where they have freedom of action and that have long-term importance; these areas generally involve longe-range planning. The essential problem in managing research-type activities is not deciding what to do but whether and when to do it.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

    3 Park Avenue, 17th Floor
    New York, NY  USA  10016-5997
  • Authors:
    • Hazeltine, Barrett
  • Publication Date: 1970-5

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00007085
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 25 1973 12:00AM