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Performance measurement in R&D: exploring the interplay between measurement objectives, dimensions of performance and contextual factors

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Abstract:

Measuring research and development (R&D) performance has become a fundamental concern for R&D managers and executives in the last decades. As a result, the issue has been extensively debated in innovation and R&D management literature. The paper contributes to this growing body of knowledge, adopting a systemic and contextual perspective to look into the problem of measuring R&D performance. In particular, it explores the interplay between measurement objectives, performance dimensions and contextual factors in the design of a performance measurement system (PMS) for R&D activities. The paper relies on a multiple case study analysis that involved 15 Italian technology-intensive firms. The results indicate that firms measure R&D performance with different purposes, i.e. motivate researchers and engineers, monitor the progress of activities, evaluate the profitability of R&D projects, favour coordination and communication and stimulate organisational learning. These objectives are pursued in clusters, and the importance firms attach to each cluster is influenced by the context (type of R&D, industry belonging, size) in which measurement takes place. Furthermore, a firm's choice to measure R&D performance along a particular perspective (i.e. financial, customer, business processes or innovation and learning) is influenced by the classes of objectives (diagnostic, motivational or interactive) that are given higher priority. The implications of these results for R&D managers and scholars are discussed in the paper.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9310.2009.00554.x

Affiliations: 1: Politecnico di Milano - Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy., Email: vittorio.chiesa@polimi.it 2: Politecnico di Milano - Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering, Piazza L. da Vinci 32, 20133 Milano, Italy., Email: federico.frattini@polimi.it 3: Università Carlo Cattaneo – LIUC, Corso Matteotti, 22, 21053 Castellanza, Varese, Italy., Email: vlazzarotti@liuc.it 4: Università Carlo Cattaneo – LIUC, Corso Matteotti, 22, 21053 Castellanza, Varese, Italy., Email: rmanzini@liuc.it

Publication date: 2009-11-01

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