Research Departments Within Large Organizations

by J. Litterer



The article presents the author's opinion that to ignore the fact that most research is conducted in laboratories which are part of larger organizations, like business firms, government agencies, or universities, is to ignore the source of many problems which beset research work. In part these problems arise because large parent organizations become more rigid, more given to the routine and the reliable, slower to change and less open to new ideas. In short, a less promising home for search, creativity and discovery. But another set of causal factors for these problems lies in the difference in objectives, work and personnel of the research unit and the parent unit. Many of the concepts of the characteristics of organizations have grown from the studies of bureaucracies. The task of organizations is to produce through a rational system of work, goods or services of use to nonorganization members. In a rational system there is a knowledge, or at least a belief, that certain events or acts will have predictable outcomes or results.

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