Modeling Structural Activity System of R&D Firms in a Developing Economy to Enhance new Practices Implementation

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In the middle and late 1960's, large numbers of Research and Development (R&D) firms were established in many developing countries to provide effective services to small and medium scale enterprises. But over the years, the ability of these R&D-oriented firms to provide such effective assistances was constrained due to management challenges. In this regard efforts were made by most of these firms to implement new management practices derived from successful business principles and practices of firms in the EU and elsewhere, in order to help strengthened their capability to provide effective client services. Yet, there was the realisation that the efforts of most of these R&D firms to implement and internalise the new management practices were constrained and as such not successful. The purpose of this study therefore, was to identify and understand the factors that constrained the R&Ds’ practices implementation and internalization efforts. Using a systemic structural activity theoretical framework and a qualitative approach, the implementation effort of an R&D firm in Trinidad was explored. The results showed that during the firm's practice implementation, the quality of its internal environment was diffused as a result of employees and management seeing things in different perspectives. This resulted in the emergence of a fuzzy understanding of the firm's corporate culture by employees, with individual interpretations and understandings of the firm's organizational values and norms. It is concluded that the R&D's effort to implement and internalize new management practices was not only constrained by factors relating to its external environment, but also by the prevalence of activity contradictions within its structural and activity system.




Sanda, M. A. (2015). Modeling Structural Activity System of R&D Firms in a Developing Economy to Enhance new Practices Implementation. Procedia Manufacturing, 3, 660–667.

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