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Four case studies on commercialisation of government R&D agencies: an organizational activity theoretical approach
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In this study, it was established that internal environment factors that seemed to have constrained the attempts by most Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) in the developing countries to implement and internalise a best management practices (BMP) model (i.e. as an instrument of change) towards commercialisation were rather unidentified contradictions caused by conflicts and disturbances which served, not only as sources of troubles, but also sources of innovation in the RTOs' organizational activity systems. This observation provided an insight into the phenomenon that; despite the successful use of the BMP model by companies in the developed countries, especially in Europe, the efforts of most RTOs in the developing countries to implement and internalise the model were constrained by some undetermined environmental factors. The question of how factors internal to the RTOs' operating environments impacted on their attempts to implement and internalise the BMP model was explored, based on the proposition that; existing tensions in the RTOs activity system serve as internal environment constraints which influence the extent to which external environment factors negatively affect their efforts to implement and internalise the BMP model in their attempts to commercialise. Thus the goal of the study was to create an understanding with both practical and academic values (i.e. from the perspectives of organizational learning) on how the RTOs in developing countries can learn to deal with factors constraining the attempts by most of them to implement and internalise the BMP model (i.e. as an instrument of change) in their efforts to commercialise. The aim was to use organizational activity theory as a platform to provide an understanding of the possible internal factors preventing the RTOs from being successful in their implementation and internalisation efforts, with the objective of developing the requisite tools to guide future remedial actions. A multiple-case study was carried out with four RTOs in four countries (i.e. South Africa, Trinidad, and Botswana) as cases. Qualitative data on how each case's commercialisation process impacted on the sub-activity systems of its agents and/or groups (i.e. either as management teams or staff members, or collectively as workforce) were collected through structured interviews with key actors, problem-identification workshops, and surveys (using closed-ended self-completion questionnaires). Both historical and actual-empirical analyses were carried out for each case using the "analysis of contradiction" approach, with the actions of identified groups in each case (i.e. management team, senior staff, and junior staff) as the sub-unit of analysis, and the actions of the collective group (i.e. workforce) as the main unit of analysis. The contradictions that existed within the organizational activity system of each case were identified, and the findings interpreted at the single-case level. Results from these analyses showed that the case in South Africa was able to manage the contradictions that emerged in its organizational activity system, and hence was successful with its implementation efforts. The case in Trinidad was found to have experienced some constraints in its institutional rules and communities which generated some contradictions in its activity. Though not significant, the inability of the organization to fully manage it affected its implementation efforts, resulting in a moderate success. The case in Ghana was found to have been constrained in its institutional rule, community and division of labour. Due to its inability to manage the contradictions that emerged in its activity system, its commercialisation effort yielded a relatively poor outcome. The case in Botswana was found to have been highly constrained in its institutional rule, community and division of labour. Contradiction was thus high in its activity system, resulting in relatively failed implementation efforts. These analytic outcomes from the individual cases (i.e. analysis of contradiction) were then crossed analysed using the pattern-matching approach. Based on the analyses outcome, an understanding was made on factors internal to the organizations' operating environments which impacted on their implementation of the best management practices. This understanding provided the premise upon which the conclusion stated in the opening paragraph was derived.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet, 2006. , 395 p.
Doctoral thesis / Luleå University of Technology 1 jan 1997 → …, ISSN 1402-1544 ; 2006:33
Research subject
Industrial Work Environment
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-26173Local ID: d0123660-851a-11db-aabe-000ea68e967bOAI: diva2:999332
Godkänd; 2006; 20061206 (haneit)Available from: 2016-09-30 Created: 2016-09-30Bibliographically approved

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