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Title: The use and the role of formal methods in R & D project selection processes
Author: Cardoso, Carlos Jose Cabral
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 1993
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Much effort has been spent on designing and developing formalised selection techniques (FST), whereas R&D project selection practices remain surprisingly opaque. The suitability and effectiveness of FST have been strongly criticised in the literature, but their adoption and continued use by some organisations raises questions about the assumptions in most of the literature on R&D project selection. Some surveys of FST usage have been carried out, but use has persistently been measured unidimensionally, as if it meant the same to everyone. There have been few attempts, however, to describe the role played by formalised selection techniques in the selection process, and the different meanings of use. This study takes a step towards filling this gap. This study is based on the assumption that R&D project selection processes are political in nature, and that FST are not simply used with a view to determining the decision in a more or less mechanistic way (instrumental use). FST are also used in a political and symbolic ways as a means of persuading other interested parties of the advantages/disadvantages of the projects they are endorsing/rejecting (supportive way), so to gain their support for a preferred course of action, and to legitimise decisions already influenced by political concerns. A survey of R&D project selection processes in U.K. organisations, mainly of an industrial kind, was carried out using a mailed questionnaire. Predictive analysis of FST usage, and of instrumental and supportive use were conducted at three levels - the individual, the project, and the organisation. The analysis shows that instrumental use is determined, to some extent, by R&D management practices, whereas supportive use seems more dependent on the perceptions of the selection process, therefore, confirming the main proposition of this study. The findings also confirm that FST have found some use, and that they are used in more than one way. An attempt is made to define a typology of FST users and usage modes, at each level of analysis. The profiles of instrumental and supportive users are examined in detail. Instrumental use seems closer to a decision making process that takes place in a rational way, whereas supportive use appears more in line with the political process model of decision making. Finally, an effort is made to assess the managerial impact of FST usage, in terms of time and cost of the selection process, and in terms of decision quality and decision acceptability.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available