Journal Article

Conflicting logics? A multidimensional view of industrial and academic science

Organization Science 24 (3): 889–909
Henry Sauermann, Paula Stephan (2012)
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