Inside multi-disciplinary science and engineering research centers: The impact of organizational climate on invention disclosures and patents
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.