Cross-company communication, as opposed to a top-down hierarchical approach, creates a more stimulating environment

A new organizational design study by researchers at the University of South Florida sheds light on the ideal work environment inventors need to succeed and thrive when venturing into new areas of knowledge.

The study found that “explorers” – inventors who step outside their area of ​​expertise, whether in technologies, disciplines or industries – are more productive when they work in organizations that support business-to-business communications versus a top-down approach.

This type of open-ended communication creates a more nurturing environment where inventors know their inventions are valued and where there is more collaboration between project units and more management support when working on something new. , according to the study.

“Our research deepens our understanding of the roles that explorers play in innovation,” said Lin Jiang, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at USF Muma College of Business. “Research also helps us understand what is the desirable work environment we should provide for explorers to be successful.”

The article co-authored by Jiang was published online in August in Technovationan interdisciplinary journal on technological innovation.

Other main takeaways include:

  • Exploring new areas does not help inventors increase the quantity or quality of patents if they do not work for an organization that decompartmentalizes internal communication.
  • Research and development employees who explore other areas do better in organizations that encourage and facilitate openness in internal communication. Two-way communication promotes interactions, meetings, collaborations and managerial feedback between units.

Researchers surveyed 2,331 US-based inventors in 2013. With an effective response rate of 16.5%, the study’s final analysis was based on 321 inventors from 231 companies.

The study’s co-authors also included Brent Clark of the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Daniel Turban of the University of Missouri.

Source of the story:

Material provided by University of South Florida. Original written by Elizabeth L. Brown. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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