EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Renaissance Man is not dead! The role of generalists in teams of inventors

Eduardo Melero and Neus Palomeras

Research Policy, 2015, vol. 44, issue 1, 154-167

Abstract: Is there a role for the multifaceted Renaissance Man in modern team-intensive innovation activities? This paper argues that generalist inventors, holding a broad knowledge set, make an especially valuable contribution to innovation teams in uncertain contexts. For a given level of team knowledge variety, the presence of generalists in an innovation team enables a more effective recombination of knowledge and attenuates the typical barriers affecting team-working processes. On the other hand, the lack of specialized contributions in such teams may hamper the process of adapting each recombined component in the search for an innovative solution. Thus, we expect teams including generalists to perform better than otherwise comparable teams in contexts where there is not a well-defined path to combine knowledge and the advantage of specialized contributions plays only a secondary role. We analyze the role of generalists in teams of inventors in the electrical and electronics industry by tracking the trajectories of individual members and the performance of their teams through their patenting activity. Our findings are consistent with the proposition outlined above.

Keywords: Teams of inventors; Generalists; Knowledge recombination; Patents (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (20) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048733314001176
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:respol:v:44:y:2015:i:1:p:154-167

DOI: 10.1016/j.respol.2014.07.005

Access Statistics for this article

Research Policy is currently edited by M. Bell, B. Martin, W.E. Steinmueller, A. Arora, M. Callon, M. Kenney, S. Kuhlmann, Keun Lee and F. Murray

More articles in Research Policy from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Catherine Liu ().

 
Page updated 2024-02-18
Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:44:y:2015:i:1:p:154-167