3Rationalization and Creativity: R&D under Pressure

As Chapter 2 focused on the work of R&D and the changes that it has undergone, this chapter focuses on one of the main factors of work transformation in R&D: rationalization. While many R&D organizations are the subject of various types of rationalization operations, the aim of this chapter is to characterize these operations and point out effects that are sometimes counterproductive.

Rationalization practices have indeed become common in recent times, including in the world of R&D, which had long been preserved. If these practices have advantages that justify their implementation, then their impact on innovation, creativity and the performance of R&D teams, and therefore of the company, is a controversial and little-known topic. In this chapter, we first (section 3.1) conceptualize and present how rationalization has gained ground in R&D, thus leading to the reduction of different types of resources (human, financial, spatial and temporal), raising tensions and questions about their potential adverse effects on the innovation and creativity of R&D teams. In section 3.2, we focus on the understanding of creativity as a social process and the different factors that influence it, with particular emphasis on the importance of resource availability on creativity. In section 3.3, we examine the effects of slack reduction on the creativity of R&D teams. Finally, in section 3.4, we highlight the three mechanisms that explain the ...

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