The lived experiences and critical success factors of scientific leaders transitioned from a technical position at an American research laboratory

by Wilson, Emily S., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2016, 189 pages; 10124548

Abstract:

This research study examined the lived experiences and critical success factors of scientific leaders transitioned from a technical position at an American research laboratory in the Pacific Northwest. Exploring and understanding what critical characteristics are required to lead and inspire others in highly-technical, complex, competitive and innovative environments is crucial in order to maintain a company’s competitive advantage. This study used a transcendental phenomenological research design with face-to-face, in-depth, semistructured interviews using the modified van Kaam method by Moustakas (1994). A sample population of 16 scientific leaders was selected. The participants were selected based on their vast experience making the transition to scientific leader. The data analysis revealed 10 critical characteristics that facilitated a successful transition to scientific leader: (a) technical background, (b) communication skills, (c) people skills, (d) intrinsic motivation, (e) mentoring, (f) risk-taking, (g) curiosity, (h) visionary, (i) strategic, and (j) teamwork. This phenomenological study contributed to the body of knowledge, from which R&D organizations can gain knowledge from this study and improve their science and engineering leadership development and mentoring programs, specifically geared toward scientific leadership early in a scientist’s career. The results of this study have practical implications for those individuals transitioning to scientific leadership positions, particularly in R&D organizations.

AdviserJOHN E. HERR
SchoolCAPELLA UNIVERSITY
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBusiness administration; Management
Publication Number10124548

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