Expert Judgment versus Market Accounting in an Industrial Research Lab

TitleExpert Judgment versus Market Accounting in an Industrial Research Lab
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsGiannella, E
JournalScience, Technology & Human Values
Date PublishedMay 1, 2016
Publication Languageeng
AbstractAccounts of change in contemporary research in industry and the academy often note the increasing coexistence of market and academic norms and practices. This article suggests that, at least in industry, these conflicting norms and practices are often preserved by loose coupling between market pressures and the research organization. Based on a two-year case study, this article examines the imposition of tight coupling at an industry lab that had previously been able to maintain some of the norms and practices associated with the academy. Tight market coupling limited the role of judgment in the governance of research. First, a market-based quantitative project selection system delegitimized expert judgment. As a result, projects with obvious market and technical uncertainties were more difficult to justify. Second, objective, market-based oversight also limited the role of expert judgment. Tracking the return on investment of scientists’ hours with time cards had the effect of discouraging time spent on learning or exploratory work. In many cases, researchers argued that displacement of judgment for a quantitative governance system caused work to shift away from research and toward product development.