Henry Sauermann

Journal Article
Forthcoming

Fire in the belly? Employee motives and innovative performance in startups versus established firms

Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship
Keyword(s): Entrepreneurial firms, human capital, innovative performance, motives, start-up joiners

We examine whether start-ups attract employees with different pecuniary and non-pecuniary motives than small or large established firms. We then explore whether such differences in employee motives may lead to differences in innovative performance across firm types. Using data on more than 10,000 U.S. R&D employees, we find that start-up employees (“joiners”) place lower importance on job security and salary but greater importance on independence and responsibility. Start-up employees have higher patent output than employees in small and large established firms, and this difference is partly mediated by employee motives - especially joiners’ greater willingness to bear risk. We discuss implications for research as well as for managers and policy makers concerned with the supply of human capital to entrepreneurship and innovation.

Copyright © 2017 Strategic Management Society


Journal Article

Authorship and contribution disclosures

Science Advances 3 (11)
Henry Sauermann, Carolin Haeussler (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Innovation, science, teams, collaboration, scientific credit, science policy
JEL Code(s): O32, J01

Most scientific research is performed by teams, and for a long time, observers have inferred individual team members’ contributions by interpreting author order on published articles. In response to increasing concerns about this approach, journals are adopting policies that require the disclosure of individual authors’ contributions. However, it is not clear whether and how these disclosures improve upon the conventional approach. Moreover, there is little evidence on how contribution statements are written and how they are used by readers. We begin to address these questions in two studies. Guided by a conceptual model, Study 1 examines the relationship between author order and contribution statements on more than 12,000 articles to understand what information is provided by each. This analysis quantifies the risk of error when inferring contributions from author order and shows how this risk increases with team size and for certain types of authors. At the same time, the analysis suggests that some components of the value of contributions are reflected in author order but not in currently used contribution statements. Complementing the bibliometric analysis, Study 2 analyzes survey data from more than 6000 corresponding authors to examine how contribution statements are written and used. This analysis highlights important differences between fields and between senior versus junior scientists, as well as strongly diverging views about the benefits and limitations of contribution statements. On the basis of both studies, we highlight important avenues for future research and consider implications for a broad range of stakeholders.

Volume 3
Issue 11
ISSN 2375-2548 (Online)

Journal Article

The declining interest in an academic career

PLoS ONE 12 (9)
Michael Roach, Henry Sauermann (2017)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior, Strategy and general management, Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Preferences, graduate education, science careers, STEM labor markets, science policy
JEL Code(s): O32, J22, J44

There is increasing evidence that science & engineering PhD students lose interest in an academic career over the course of graduate training. It is not clear, however, whether this decline reflects students being discouraged from pursuing an academic career by the challenges of obtaining a faculty job or whether it reflects more fundamental changes in students’ career goals for reasons other than the academic labor market. We examine this question using a longitudinal survey that follows a cohort of PhD students from 39 U.S. research universities over the course of graduate training to document changes in career preferences and to explore potential drivers of such changes. We report two main results. First, although the vast majority of students start the PhD interested in an academic research career, over time 55% of all students remain interested while 25% lose interest entirely. In addition, 15% of all students were never interested in an academic career during their PhD program, while 5% become more interested. Thus, the declining interest in an academic career is not a general phenomenon across all PhD students, but rather reflects a divergence between those students who remain highly interested in an academic career and other students who are no longer interested in one. Second, we show that the decline we observe is not driven by expectations of academic job availability, nor by related factors such as postdoctoral requirements or the availability of research funding. Instead, the decline appears partly due to the misalignment between students’ changing preferences for specific job attributes on the one hand, and the nature of the academic research career itself on the other. Changes in students’ perceptions of their own research ability also play a role, while publications do not. We discuss implications for scientific labor markets, PhD career development programs, and science policy.

Volume 12
Issue 9
ISSN 1932-6203 (Online)

Journal Article

Educational mismatch, work outcomes, and entry into entrepreneurship

Organization Science 27 (4): 801–824
Briana Sell Stenard, Henry Sauermann (2016)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship
Keyword(s): Entrepreneurship, human capital, STEM careers, labor markets

A growing body of research explores how employees’ organizational context shapes their entrepreneurial activity. We add to this work by examining how “educational mismatch”—when a job does not utilize the skills an employee has acquired during education—relates to subsequent transitions into entrepreneurship. While prior research has focused on mismatch due to labor market frictions, workers may also enter mismatches for other reasons, such as family obligations or a change in career interests. Different reasons, in turn, may relate in distinct ways to wages and job satisfaction and thus to the opportunity costs of entering entrepreneurship. Moreover, mismatch may also affect human capital development, including the formation of a broader range of skills that is beneficial in entrepreneurship. Using longitudinal data from over 25,000 scientists and engineers, we document a broad range of reasons for educational mismatch and show that the relationships between educational mismatch and wages, job satisfaction, and skill variety differ significantly depending upon the reason for a mismatch. Mismatched individuals are more likely to enter into entrepreneurship in a subsequent period, an effect that goes beyond higher labor mobility per se. Both lower opportunity costs—primarily low job satisfaction—and greater skill variety appear to link educational mismatch to subsequent entrepreneurship. We discuss implications for research, managers, and policy makers.

© 2016, INFORMS

Volume 27
Issue 4
Pages 801–824

Journal Article

Why pursue the postdoc path?

Science 352 (6286): 663–664
Henry Sauermann, Michael Roach (2016)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): STEM labor markets

Concerns have been raised about labor market imbalances that see a growing number of postdoctoral researchers pursuing a limited number of faculty positions (1–4). Proposed demand-side solutions include capping the duration of postdoc training or hiring more permanent staff scientists (1, 4, 5). Others focus on the supply side, arguing that Ph.D.'s need better information about labor market conditions and nonacademic career options (4, 6, 7). Unfortunately, it is not clear why Ph.D. students pursue postdoc positions and how their plans depend on individual-level factors, such as career goals or labor market perceptions. We describe evidence of a “default” postdoc and of “holding patterns” that suggest a need for increased attention to career planning among students, their mentors, graduate schools, and funders.

Volume 352
Issue 6286
Pages 663–664
ISSN 1095-9203 (Online) 0036-8075 (Print)

Journal Article

Founder or joiner? The role of preferences and context in shaping different entrepreneurial interests

Management Science 61 (9): 2160–2184
Michael Roach, Henry Sauermann (2015)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Entrepreneurship
Keyword(s): Entrepreneurship, joiners, human capital, academic entrepreneurship, scientists and engineers

Entrepreneurial ventures rely not only on founders but also on “joiners” - start-up employees who are attracted to entrepreneurship, but who do not want to be founders themselves. Drawing on both preference and contextual theories of entrepreneurship, we examine how individuals’ interest in being a founder, a joiner, or neither forms prior to the first career transition. We find that although individuals with founder and joiner interests share similar preferences for entrepreneurial job attributes such as autonomy and risk, their preferences for these attributes also differ in significantly meaningful ways. Contextual factors such as norms, role models, and opportunities exhibit very different relationships with founder and joiner interests. Most interestingly, our results suggest that preferences and context interrelate in unique ways to shape different entrepreneurial interests. In particular, an interest in being a founder is most strongly associated with individuals’ preferences for entrepreneurial job attributes, whereas contextual factors do little to shape a founder interest in individuals who lack these preferences. An interest in being a joiner, on the other hand, is associated with both preferences and context, and this relationship is most pronounced for individuals with preferences that predispose them toward entrepreneurship. This study highlights joiners as a distinct type of entrepreneurial actor and demonstrates the importance of considering the interplay between preferences and context in the study of entrepreneurship.

© 2015, INFORMS

Volume 61
Issue 9
Pages 2160–2184

Journal Article

Crowd science user contribution patterns and their implications

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112 (3): 679–684
Henry Sauermann, Chiara Franzoni (2015)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Crowd science, citizen science, crowdsourcing, dynamics, effort valuation

Scientific research performed with the involvement of the broader public (the crowd) attracts increasing attention from scientists and policy makers. A key premise is that project organizers may be able to draw on underused human resources to advance research at relatively low cost. Despite a growing number of examples, systematic research on the effort contributions volunteers are willing to make to crowd science projects is lacking. Analyzing data on seven different projects, we quantify the financial value volunteers can bring by comparing their unpaid contributions with counterfactual costs in traditional or online labor markets. The volume of total contributions is substantial, although some projects are much more successful in attracting effort than others. Moreover, contributions received by projects are very uneven across time—a tendency toward declining activity is interrupted by spikes typically resulting from outreach efforts or media attention. Analyzing user-level data, we find that most contributors participate only once and with little effort, leaving a relatively small share of users who return responsible for most of the work. Although top contributor status is earned primarily through higher levels of effort, top contributors also tend to work faster. This speed advantage develops over multiple sessions, suggesting that it reflects learning rather than inherent differences in skills. Our findings inform recent discussions about potential benefits from crowd science, suggest that involving the crowd may be more effective for some kinds of projects than others, provide guidance for project managers, and raise important questions for future research.

Volume 112
Issue 3
Pages 679–684

Journal Article

Crowd science: The organization of scientific research in open collaborative projects

Research Policy 43 (1): 1–20
Chiara Franzoni, Henry Sauermann (2014)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Crowd science, citizen science, crowdsourcing, community-based production, problem solving, open innovation, funding

A growing amount of scientific research is done in an open collaborative fashion, in projects sometimes referred to as “crowd science”, “citizen science”, or “networked science”. This paper seeks to gain a more systematic understanding of crowd science and to provide scholars with a conceptual framework and an agenda for future research. First, we briefly present three case examples that span different fields of science and illustrate the heterogeneity concerning what crowd science projects do and how they are organized. Second, we identify two fundamental elements that characterize crowd science projects – open participation and open sharing of intermediate inputs – and distinguish crowd science from other knowledge production regimes such as innovation contests or traditional “Mertonian” science. Third, we explore potential knowledge-related and motivational benefits that crowd science offers over alternative organizational modes, and potential challenges it is likely to face. Drawing on prior research on the organization of problem solving, we also consider for what kinds of tasks particular benefits or challenges are likely to be most pronounced. We conclude by outlining an agenda for future research and by discussing implications for funding agencies and policy makers.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 43
Issue 1
Pages 1–20

Journal Article

Not all scientists pay to be scientists: PhDs' preferences for publishing in industrial employment

Research Policy 43 (1): 32–47
Henry Sauermann, Michael Roach (2014)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior
Keyword(s): Industrial research, publishing, open science, preferences, compensating differentials, labor markets

It is often assumed that academically trained scientists have a strong taste for science and are willing to “pay” for the ability to openly disclose their research results. However, little is known regarding how scientists considering jobs in industrial R&D make trade-offs between positions that allow publishing on the one hand and positions that do not allow publishing but offer higher pay on the other. Using data on over 1900 science and engineering PhD candidates about to enter the job market, we find that while some are unwilling to give up publishing at virtually any price, over one third of those most likely to seek positions in industrial research are willing to forego publishing for free. We develop a simple model of the “price” scientists assign to publishing in firms and explore potential sources of heterogeneity empirically. We find that the price of publishing increases with individuals’ preferences for various benefits from publishing such as peer recognition and contributing to society, but it decreases with their preference for money. Scientists who believe themselves to be of high ability and who train at top tier institutions have a higher price of publishing. Yet, they are more expensive to hire (not less) even if publishing is allowed. We discuss implications for research on the economics of science and on compensating differentials, for managers seeking to attract and retain academically trained personnel, and for firms considering their participation in open science.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 43
Issue 1
Pages 32–47

Journal Article

Credit where credit is due? The impact of project contributions and social factors on authorship and inventorship

Research Policy 42 (3): 688–703
Carolin Haeussler, Henry Sauermann (2013)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Guest authorship, ghost authorship, attribution, social status, project contributions, patent–paper-pairs

We examine the extent to which different types of substantive project contributions as well as social factors predict whether a scientist is named as author on a paper and inventor on a patent resulting from the same project. Using unique survey data from over 2000 life scientists, we find that the predictors of authorship differ from those of inventorship. A wider range of project contributions may result in authorship, and social factors appear to play a larger role in authorship decisions than in inventorship decisions. We also find evidence that project contributions and social factors interact in predicting authorship, suggesting that the two sets of factors should be considered jointly rather than seen as independent determinants of attribution. In addition to providing novel insights into the functioning of the authorship and inventorship system, our results have important implications for administrators, managers, and policy makers, as well as for innovation scholars who often rely on patents and publications as measures of scientists’ performance.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 42
Issue 3
Pages 688–703

Journal Article

Increasing web survey response rates in innovation research: An experimental study of static and dynamic contact design features

Research Policy 42 (1): 273–286
Henry Sauermann, Michael Roach (2013)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Web surveys, response rates, experiment, incentives, personalization, survey timing, response bias

Web surveys have become increasingly central to innovation research but often suffer from low response rates. Based on a cost–benefits framework and the explicit consideration of heterogeneity across respondents, we consider the effects of key contact design features such as personalization, incentives, and the exact timing of survey contacts on web survey response rates. We also consider the benefits of a “dynamic strategy”, i.e., the approach to change features of survey contacts over the survey life cycle. We explore these effects experimentally using a career survey sent to over 24,000 junior scientists and engineers. The results show that personalization increases the odds of responding by as much as 48%, while lottery incentives with a high payoff and a low chance of winning increase the odds of responding by 30%. Furthermore, changing the wording of reminders over the survey life cycle increases the odds of a response by over 30%, while changes in contact timing (day of the week or hour of the day) did not have significant benefits. Improvements in response rates did not come at the expense of lower data quality. Our results provide novel insights into web survey response behavior and suggest useful tools for innovation researchers seeking to increase survey participation.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 42
Issue 1
Pages 273–286

Journal Article

Conflicting logics? A multidimensional view of industrial and academic science

Organization Science 24 (3): 889–909
Henry Sauermann, Paula Stephan (2012)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Industrial science, academic science, institutional logics, basic and applied research, scientist preferences, independence and pay, publishing and patenting

A growing body of research views industrial and academic science as characterized by conflicting institutional logics. However, other scholars have long claimed that stark differences between the two sectors exist in theory but not in practice. Drawing on both views and the broader organizational literature, we develop a conceptual framework to compare and contrast industrial and academic science along four interdependent dimensions: (1) the nature of work, (2) characteristics of the workplace, (3) characteristics of workers, and (4) the disclosure of research results. We then employ detailed survey data on a sample of more than 5,000 research-active life scientists and physical scientists to examine key aspects of the framework empirically. Our results suggest that the conflicting logics view tends to overstate differences across sectors while ignoring important heterogeneity within sectors. We further advance the understanding of institutional logics by examining the relationships among dimensions of science, including the degree to which differences in the nature of work explain differences in how work is organized and results are disclosed. We discuss directions for future research on the institution of science as well as implications for managers and policy makers concerned with scientific activity within and across sectors.

© 2013, INFORMS

Volume 24
Issue 3
Pages 889–909

Journal Article

Science PhD career preferences: Levels, changes, and advisor encouragement

PLoS ONE 7 (5)
Henry Sauermann, Michael Roach (2012)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior
Keyword(s): STEM labor markets

Even though academic research is often viewed as the preferred career path for PhD trained scientists, most U.S. graduates enter careers in industry, government, or “alternative careers.” There has been a growing concern that these career patterns reflect fundamental imbalances between the supply of scientists seeking academic positions and the availability of such positions. However, while government statistics provide insights into realized career transitions, there is little systematic data on scientists' career preferences and thus on the degree to which there is a mismatch between observed career paths and scientists' preferences. Moreover, we lack systematic evidence whether career preferences adjust over the course of the PhD training and to what extent advisors exacerbate imbalances by encouraging their students to pursue academic positions. Based on a national survey of PhD students at tier-one U.S. institutions, we provide insights into the career preferences of junior scientists across the life sciences, physics, and chemistry. We also show that the attractiveness of academic careers decreases significantly over the course of the PhD program, despite the fact that advisors strongly encourage academic careers over non-academic careers. Our data provide an empirical basis for common concerns regarding labor market imbalances. Our results also suggest the need for mechanisms that provide PhD applicants with information that allows them to carefully weigh the costs and benefits of pursuing a PhD, as well as for mechanisms that complement the job market advice advisors give to their current students.

Volume 7
Issue 5
ISSN 1932-6203 (Online)

Journal Article

What makes them tick? Employee motives and firm innovation

Management Science 56 (12): 2134–2153
Henry Sauermann, Wesley M. Cohen (2010)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Research and development, innovation, motivation, motives, incentives, creativity

Economists studying innovation and technological change have made significant progress toward understanding firms' profit incentives as drivers of innovation. However, innovative performance in firms should also depend heavily on the pecuniary and nonpecuniary motives of the employees actually working in research and development. Using data on more than 1,700 Ph.D. scientists and engineers, we examine the relationships between individuals' motives (e.g., desire for intellectual challenge, income, or responsibility) and their innovative performance. We find that motives matter, but different motives have very different effects: Motives regarding intellectual challenge, independence, and money have a strong positive relationship with innovative output, whereas motives regarding job security and responsibility tend to have a negative relationship. We also explore possible mechanisms underlying the observed relationships between motives and performance. Although hours worked (quantity of effort) have a strong positive effect on performance, motives appear to affect innovative performance primarily via other dimensions of effort (character of effort). Finally, we find some evidence that the role of motives differs in upstream research versus downstream development.

© 2010, INFORMS

Volume 56
Issue 12
Pages 2134–2153

Journal Article

A taste for science? PhD scientists' academic orientation and self-selection into research careers in industry

Research Policy 39 (3): 422–434
Michael Roach, Henry Sauermann (2010)
Abstract:
Subject(s): Technology, R&D management
Keyword(s): Industrial R&D, academic science, motives, taste for science, career choice

Recent research on industrial and academic science draws on the notion that academically trained scientists have a strong “taste for science”. However, little attention has been paid to potential heterogeneity in researchers’ taste for science and to potential selection effects into careers in industry versus academia. Using survey data from over 400 science and engineering PhD students, we examine the extent to which PhD students’ taste for science (e.g., desire for independence, publishing, peer recognition, and interest in basic research) and other individual characteristics predict preferences for research careers in industry versus academia. Our results suggest that PhD students who prefer industrial employment show a weaker “taste for science”, a greater concern for salary and access to resources, and a stronger interest in downstream work compared to PhD students who prefer an academic career. Our findings have important implications for innovation research as well as for managers and policy makers.

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 39
Issue 3
Pages 422–434

Journal Article

Vocational choice: A decision making perspective

Journal of Vocational Behavior 66 (2): 273–303
Abstract:
Subject(s): Human resources management/organizational behavior
Keyword(s): Vocational choice, decision making processes, choice goals, constructed preferences, decision strategies, behavioral decision making, person-environment fit models, social influences in vocational choice, decision time

With permission of Elsevier

Volume 66
Issue 2
Pages 273–303