How to re-energize R&D organization in large corporations in mature industries : the impact of hot groups
Author(s)Murata, Hideaki, 1965-
How to re-energize research and development organization in large corporations in mature industries
Management of Technology Program.
MetadataShow full item record
Fostering creativity in research and development (R & D) operations, especially in large corporations in mature industries, is a critical challenge. I hypothesized that very creative groups, what some have termed "hot groups," can be formed even in such organizations and that they may have an impact on the entire organization. A hot group is a lively, high-achieving, dedicated group whose members are extremely excited to work on challenging tasks. The principal research questions in the present study are, "What are the kinds of situational settings where hot groups can arise, grow and sustain in an organization?" and "What are the effects of a hot group on the parent organization?" Based on the literature review and interviews, this study concludes that hot groups can be formed even in cold, hierarchical organizations. Strong sponsorship by senior managers is the most important success factor for the formation of hot groups. In addition, introducing fluctuation or "unfreezing" into organizations, forming a creative culture and formulating policies and systems that stimulate autonomy contribute to the viability of hot groups. In order to sustain the creativity of hot groups, the importance of what has been termed "virtual knowledge" should also be recognized by the sponsors and group members. If top management fails to recognize the achievements and also the effects of hot groups, members of the hot groups often leave the company, causing the diffusion process to cease. Organizational boundaries largely impair the penetration of hot groups' excitement and creativity. The thesis identified two different patterns in the diffusion process of hot groups into the parent organization. In the horizontal diffusion model, the excitement and creativity of a hot group first diffuses horizontally to other people in the parent organization, typically middle to bottom people. The organization changes from the bottom of the hierarchy. Although this is the best way to share the virtual knowledge of how to be creative by the bottom people, it may create disordered chaos in the organization and may take a long time to change the organization. In the vertical diffusion model, top management of the company jumps into the diffusion process in the early stages, and establishes policies and systems to facilitate formation of hot groups. The organization changes from the top of the hierarchy. Although this is the best way to quickly introduce the hot group concept into the organization in a controlled manner, there exists the potential for ending up with insufficient "heat" in the organization. The horizontal and vertical diffusions are complementary and sequential. In order to energize organizations and to make them creative by the hot group concept, both the horizontal and vertical diffusions are required. Overall, the hot group can be a powerful tool for re-energizing organizations and fostering creativity in large corporations in mature industries when they are stuck on the past narrow incremental improvement.
Thesis (S.M.M.O.T.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Management of Technology Program, 2000.Also available online at the MIT Theses Online homepage <http://thesis.mit.edu>.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentManagement of Technology Program.; Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Management of Technology Program.