Inside Multi-disciplinary Science and Engineering Research Centers: The Impact of Organizational Climate on Invention Disclosures and Patents
Research Policy, 2011

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, the theoretical and empirical interest of this paper by Professor Steven Currall and co-authors Emily M. Hunter of Baylor University and Sara Jansen Perry of University of Houston-Downtown 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, the authors posit 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. 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. 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.