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Managing Creativity, Maintaining Control: A Study In Pharmaceutical Research

K. Randle, A. Rainnie
Published 1997 · Economics

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This paper examines how managers of scientific researchers in a major UK pharmaceutical company attempt to cope with the demands of generating creative research while exercising control over highly-qualified workers. The paper considers some models applicable to HRM in research before turning to research management at Glaxo Research and Development Ltd. Focusing on the management of working time and performance-related pay as control devices, and drawing on labour process perspectives, the authors examine the impact of these on the research process. As there is a high level of indeterminacy in research work, the operation of these controls by line managers is necessarily subjective. This may encourage behaviour which runs counter to the organisational goal of developing new chemical entities. It is suggested, in conclusion, that a fundamental tension between creativity and control characterises the management of commercial research, and is exacerbated by the dynamic nature of the firm's environment.
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