nep-ppm New Economics Papers
on Project, Program and Portfolio Management
Issue of 2009‒07‒11
four papers chosen by
Arvi Kuura
Parnu College - Tartu University

  1. The nature of collaborative patenting activities By Roberto Fontana; Geuna Aldo
  3. Finnish University Technology Transfer in a Whirl of Changes - a Brief Summary By Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen
  4. Cairo Evaluation Clinic: Thoughts on Randomized Trials for Evaluation of Development By Dean Karlan

  1. By: Roberto Fontana (Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi); Geuna Aldo (University of Turin)
    Abstract: We investigate the reasons why different governance modes are used in a sample of successful collaborative patenting activities in Europe. First we show that collaboration activities in the patenting process are much more common than one may expect by looking only at information on co-assignment. Indeed, collaborative patenting activity accounts for more than a quarter of all patents in our sample. This figure is about eight times higher than that from co-assignment data (usually considered to assess cooperation in patenting). We then examine the impact of organizational, individual and project determinants on the choice of three possible modes of governance: coassignment,co-invention, collaborative agreement. We find that higher project complexity and technological scope are associated to tighter modes of governance. We also find a significant negative relationship between licensing and co-assignment, thus providing some support to the view that some licensing can be the result of ex-ante legal agreements rather than of the presence of a market for technology. Finally, inventor specific characteristics matter too. In particular, age increases the probability of choosing looser governance modes while better education is associated to tighter modes.
    Date: 2009–07
  2. By: Ronald Jean Degen (International School of Management Paris)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to illustrate why companies adopted the matrix, what problems they had, the solutions for these problems based on Galbraith (2009) and other authors like Davis & Lawrence (1977), and the state of the art of matrix structure design today like the P&G front-back hybrid matrix organization. The matrix organization concept emerged from the US aerospace industry in the 1960s and was adopted by many companies in the early 1970s. In the late 1970s and early 1980s many companies were experiencing trouble with its operation and many argued like Peters & Waterman in their bestseller In search of excellence in 1982 (p. 306) that the matrix was too complex to work properly. Galbraith (2009, p. 10-14) explains that the reason for the problems were that the matrix in these organizations was wrongly adopted, hastily installed, and inappropriately implemented. He explains that adopting a matrix structure requires a collaborative organization form, proper power, and accountability distribution, complementing changes to the information systems, planning and budgeting process, the performance evaluation and bonus system, and so on. To illustrate the historical evolution of organization structure to the simple matrix and then to more complex matrix organizations we used the P&G case (Piskorski & Spadini 2007).
    Keywords: Matrix organization, organization structure design, front-back hybrid matrix organization
    JEL: M0 M1
    Date: 2009–07–01
  3. By: Antti-Jussi Tahvanainen
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : Finnish university technology transfer is currently caught in the turbulences of major changes in the national innovation system. Three virtually simultaneous changes are of special importance. The first is the massive on-going renewal of the Universities Act governing the Finnish higher education system in its entirety. It was originally initiated to provide universities with more financial and operational flexibility and autonomy and, thus, with better premises to fulfil the three mandates (i) to educate, (ii) to conduct academic research, and (iii) to impact societal welfare. The second change is the foundation of the so-called Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (Finnish acronym : SHOK) that aim at establishing and re-enforcing long-term research cooperation between the academia and the Industry. The final change is the enactment of the new University Inventions Act in early January 2007. The Act provided universities with the rights of ownership to inventions made in sponsored research that, according to the principle of the professor’s privilege, were considered property of the respective academic inventors prior to the change. In the beginning of 2008 Etlatieto Ltd. interviewed 11 of 20 research universities active in Finland to capture the potential impacts the three changes might have on university technology transfer activities. The set of interviewees comprised professionals conducting different tasks in the technology transfer units of universities ranging from research directors to technology transfer officers to lawyers. According to the results, the expected benefits of the renewal of the Universities Act mainly comprise of the increasing financial flexibility of universities hoped to translate into a proliferation of tools available for the transfer of university technology (support of start-ups, investments etc.), and a general increase in the profile of technology transfer functions that should alleviate their current deficiency in resources. Challenges regarding the Universities Act, on the other hand, relate to the lack of administrative and business related expertise in universities required to fulfil the up-coming tasks mandated by the Act, and the lack of commitment on part of universities’ management resulting in insufficient resources. SHOKs, in turn, are expected to enable longer project cycles, to reduce administrative burden, to encourage the setting of scientifically more ambitious research objectives, as well as to increase research collaboration and its efficiency. Challenges were identified to relate to proposed IPR-practices potentially endangering the academic freedom of university research, the incentive schemes of top researchers to participate in SHOK projects, the inefficiencies of a large participant base, and the dangers of a strongly industry driven mode of co-operation to academic values. Finally, the benefits of the University Inventions Act are expected to emerge from the gradual dismantling of the “ivory tower of academe”, an increase in the amount of received invention disclosures, and more efficient administrative practices in university technology transfer functions. Perceived challenges, in turn, include interpretational difficulties of the Act, the modest commitment of university management to university technology transfer in general, increasing administrative burdens, and strong cultural differences between researchers, industry and university administration.
    Keywords: strategic centres for science, technology and innovation, SHOK, Universities Act, University Inventions Act, university technology transfer, national innovation system, technology transfer offices
    JEL: O30 O38 O33 O34
    Date: 2009–06–03
  4. By: Dean Karlan (Yale University, Innovations for Poverty Action and Jameel Poverty Action Lab)
    Abstract: We were asked to discuss specific methodological approaches to evaluating three hypothetical interventions. This article uses this forum to discuss three misperceptions about randomized trials. First, nobody argues that randomized trials are appropriate in all settings, and for all questions. Everyone agrees that asking the right question is the highest priority. Second, the decision about what to measure and how to measure it, i.e., through qualitative or participatory methods versus quantitative survey or administrative data methods, is independent of the decision about whether to conduct a randomized trial. Third, randomized trials can be used to evaluate complex and dynamic processes, not just simple and static interventions. Evaluators should aim to answer the most important questions for future decisions, and to do so as reliably as possible. Reliability is improved with randomized trials, when feasible, and with attention to underlying theory and tests of why interventions work or fail so that lessons can be transferred as best as possible to other settings.
    Keywords: program evaluation, randomized control trial
    JEL: B41 O12 H43 J08 H54 D73 D12
    Date: 2009–06

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