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Encyclopedia of Technology and Innovation Management by Gina Colarelli O'Connor, V. K. Narayanan

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Chapter 23. Human Resources in R&D

George F. Farris[23] and Yi-Yu Chen[24]

Effective management of technical professionals has been studied for many years, yet it remains a challenging topic for managers and scholars alike. The annual survey of research and development trends by the Industrial Research Institute (Cosner, 2009) identified "attracting and retaining talent" as the third "biggest problem" facing technology leaders, behind "growing the business through innovation" and "accelerating innovation", each of which also has a component involving the management of technical professionals.

The fundamental nature of work in scientific fields is changing with more complex knowledge-based work, more dependence on social capital and technological competence of technical professionals, more team-based collaborative projects, and more time pressure. Scientists and engineers are required to cultivate new sets of skills to cope with flatter organizational structures and less job security, to develop inter-disciplinary knowledge bases through social networks, and to be able to leverage Web-based collaboration tools and cope with work diversity to perform effectively in cross-functional, cross-cultural, or virtual teams.

Two important review articles, Farris and Cordero (2002) and Badawy (1988) identified 10 key topics in the management of scientists and engineers: (1) human resources planning, (2) rewarding, (3) appraising performance, (4) career management, (5) cross-functional teams, ...

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