Motivating Employee

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Cornell University ILR School


Cornell HR Review


Motivating Employees in R&D

Ryan B. McAllister

Cornell University

Chelsea E. Vandlen

Cornell University

McAllister, Ryan B. and Vandlen, Chelsea E., "Motivating Employees in R&D" (2010). Cornell HR Review. Paper 17.

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cornell HR review

MOTIVATING EMPLOYEES IN R&D Ryan B. McAllister & Chelsea E. Vandlen A new medicine can take as long as 15 years to develop and may cost a pharmaceutical research company $1.3 billion or more from the laboratory to the pharmacy shelf.1 The research environment is very different from most other jobs for a host of reasons: the high degree of uncertainty in the research process, the accessibility of individual contributions, and the unpredictable impact of any given final product.2 As such, the practices employed by pharmaceutical companies to reward and recognize employees in research and development (R&D) functions must reflect these challenges. This report will highlight extrinsic and intrinsic motivators thought to drive innovative behavior. This report will also present additional factors that managers should consider in the design and allocation of rewards and recognition schemes. Lastly, the research offers the best practices of other companies in related industries. Drivers of Innovative Behavior For decades researchers have acknowledged that both pecuniary and nonpecuniary incentives play a critical role in entrepreneurship and innovative activity.3 Extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation, two related constructs that were popularized by the work of self-determination theorists Deci and Ryan,4 remain commonly used in the fields of HRM...