Inside multi-disciplinary science and engineering research centers: The impact of organizational climate on invention disclosures and patents
Hunter, Emily M.
Perry, Sara J.
Currall, Steven C.
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Much past research on commercialization activities by university scientists and engineers has focused on the role of resources in the extra-organizational commercialization environment, such as the availability of venture capital funding. By contrast, our theoretical and empirical interest was in intra-organizational dynamics impacting the context in which scientists and engineers work. Drawing upon organizational psychology literature on the construct of organizational climate, we posited that researchers working in an intra-organizational climate that supports commercialization and encourages intra-organizational boundary-spanning will be more likely to produce invention disclosures and patents. Our data from 218 respondents at 21 engineering research centers was both multi-method (i.e., qualitative data from interviews, longitudinal archival data, and survey data) and multi-level. Our results showed that an organizational climate characterized by support for commercialization predicted invention disclosures one year later and an organizational climate characterized by boundary-spanning predicted patent awards two years later.