Leaders who understand how to manage their employees’ commitment to both their organizations and professions may be the most successful at motivating and retaining innovators

Science Magazine covered the research of SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven Currall, also professor of management and organization at SMU’s Cox School of Business. Currall is co-author on research about how leaders can manage innovators to motivate and retain them in their organization.

Study co-authors include Sara Perry, assistant professor of management in Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business, and Emily Hunter, associate professor of management at Hankamer.

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EXCERPT:

Science Magazine
A new study from Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business helps leaders better understand how to manage innovators, specifically scientists and engineers.

“Our study suggests that leaders who understand how to manage their employees’ commitment to both their organizations and professions may be the most successful at motivating and retaining innovators,” said the study’s lead author, Sara Perry, Ph.D., assistant professor of management in Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. “Innovators represent a highly valued workforce.”

The study, Managing the Innovators: Organizational and Professional Commitment Among Scientists and Engineers, which is published in the journal Research Policy, identifies highly innovative individuals as “typically higher performers (who) are rated as more creative and proactive by their supervisors than their less-innovatively oriented peers.”

For this project, researchers surveyed 255 academic science and engineering professionals working in 22 National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Engineering Research Centers. The study centered on “dual allegiance” among these innovators – their loyalties to their professions versus their commitment to their organizations.

A general assumption, Perry said, is that these are always in conflict, but research shows that is not necessarily the case.

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