Purpose – This paper seeks to deal with the history of Research and Development (R&D) management. It takes the history of the R&D Department of the Royal Philips Electronics of The Netherlands as an example to unravel the dynamics behind industrial R&D management. Design/methodology/approach – This paper is based upon historical and theoretical studies on industrial R&D institutions and research cultures. Findings – The paper proposes that the directors of the Philips R&D Department continually shaped and reshaped the organization in order to retain researchers with creative ideas, and to stimulate innovativeness. The R&D‐management was the outcome of a search process that comprehended a mixture of scientific and industrial (management) skills, knowledge and expertise, which together shaped an industrial research culture. One of the most difficult questions for the research managers was to find a balance between the professional status and motives of individual researchers on the one hand and the Philips company production strategy on the other. Over the years, the research leaders stimulated individual creativity in their own way, taking specific business and economic circumstances into account. They operated during different historical periods that reflect their management ideas. Originality/value – Nowadays, the Philips research takes place at the High Tech Campus. Its philosophy is based upon Chesbrough's open innovation paradigm. In the discussion of this paper, it is argued that the history of industrial research teaches that the success of this organization, as in the past, will depend upon the management's ability to find a balance between scientific activities and industrial production.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 17, 2007
Keywords: Research and development; Culture; History; Innovation; The Netherlands