Center leaders are usually scientists or engineers with strong project management skills who learn how to manage and lead on-the-job, through trial-and-error, much like entrepreneurs learn. However, they often lack knowledge that would improve the effectiveness of their centers. In the same way that entrepreneurial organizations benefit from professional management as they grow, science and engineering centers will benefit.
Such centers are not "normal" organizations, so typical business executive education models will not apply. Science and engineering centers are complex hybrids with nested social networks, transitory roles, ever-changing, "drifting" arrangements, and work that is increasingly interdisciplinary, collaborative, geographically distributed, and computation- and data-intensive. Focused preparation is needed in organizational governance, innovation management, resource provisioning, workforce development and turnover reduction, process improvement, and strategic leadership. This project adapts organization science as embodied in executive education to the needs of CI center executives.
Specifically, the project will identify the points of leverage within centers where improved executive leadership might affect science and engineering outcomes. It will also discover and develop a curriculum for disseminating "best practices" based on organization science to equip executives with skills, tools, and techniques. The research will lead to the delivery of pilot sessions of effective, focused training to science executives through a modified strategy and will conduct workshops and tutorials to evaluate and improve the curriculum and to disseminate knowledge gained throughout the project. Lastly, the project will actively promote and seek the involvement of junior-level personnel and traditionally underrepresented groups, thus encouraging the career progression of current and future science executives with a focus on broader inclusion.
Assistant Professor Nicholas Berente from the University of Georgia is the principal investigator on this project.