TOWARDS A SYSTEM OF PERFORMANCE MEASURES FOR RESEARCH ACTIVITIES: NIKEM RESEARCH CASE STUDY
Although theoretical approaches to research and development (R&D) performance measurement are widespread, empirical investigations into the application of these theories are far less diffused. Therefore, we started a research project aimed at studying the R&D performance measurement practices adopted by Italian technology-intensive firms. This paper discusses the earliest empirical results of the project; it deeply investigates the experience of an Italian contract research organisation in designing a system of performance measures for its research activities.The studied case is interesting for the following reasons: (i) it witnesses the increased interest by technology-intensive companies towards R&D performance measurement; (ii) it enlightens the lack of consolidated practices capable of guiding the design of an appropriate performance measurement system; (iii) it elaborates a practical framework that can help fill this gap. In fact, a systematic approach for linking different contextual variables (i.e. the company's strategy, the type of R&D activity undertaken, the purpose of the measurement and the R&D unit's organisational structure) to the critical design choices (i.e. the choice of the performance indicators and the structure of the system) is suggested.
Performance measurement, research activities, Italian experience, contract research organizations (CROs)
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