Knowledge Creation in Corporate Research and Development: An Investigation into the Approaches and Practices employed within the Pharmaceutical Industry in the United Kingdom at the start of the 21st Century

Folkes, Christina Rosemarie (2006). Knowledge Creation in Corporate Research and Development: An Investigation into the Approaches and Practices employed within the Pharmaceutical Industry in the United Kingdom at the start of the 21st Century. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e97b

Abstract

Throughout the development of corporate R&D, there has been a search for the 'one best way' to manage the processes involved. Although perceptions of what constitutes the 'one best way' have changed over time, the quest for reliable pointers continues. This thesis develops the author's personal interest in how things 'ought to be' in order to secure success within corporate R&D. Marrying ideas from the fields of R&D Management and Knowledge Management, and using the results from an empirical study into pharmaceutical R&D in the United Kingdom, the thesis shows the distinct differences between knowledge creation in research and knowledge creation in development and concludes that these two activities should be carried out separately, but not separate from each other.

In arriving at this conclusion, the thesis upholds the criticisms of the knowledge creation model advocated by Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995); and points to the failings of the pluralist framework proposed by Cook and Brown (1999); arguing, after Polanyi (1966), that knowledge creation in any context is better modelled with reference to the individual acts of tacit knowing of the particular people involved, acts of tacit knowing which lead to the subsidiary conclusion that research should remain a scientific endeavour, whereas development should be a transdisciplinary, trans functional, and perhaps a transorganizational activity. Hence, the thesis rejects the trends in R&D generations reported in the R&D Management literature; and the corresponding move from a Mode 1 to a Mode 2 approach predicted by Gibbons and co-workers in the Knowledge Management literature.

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