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Journal Article:

Author(s) :


Sonnenwald, D. H.

Date of Publication :



Article Title :


The conceptual organization: An emergent organizational form for collaborative R&D

Journal Title :


Science and Public Policy

Volume ID :



Pages(s) :



Abstract :


Analysis of organizational documentation, sociometric survey and observation data from a two-year field study of an research and development (R&D) organization suggests that a new type of R&D organization - the conceptual organization - is emerging. It relies on and facilitates collaboration in R&D; it is based on a long-term vision that addresses large, complex and challenging problems of national and global importance. Its purpose is to work towards this vision, quickly and effectively contributing to relevant dynamic knowledge bases and meeting diverse stakeholder needs with minimum capitalization and start-up costs. To achieve this, it has an explicit conceptual organizational structure as well as a physical structure, both of which are interwoven across other external organizational and physical structures. Challenges for conceptual organizations may arise as a result of conflicts with traditional norms and practices embedded in university and R&D settings.

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