PILOT – Encouraging Autonomy and Empowering R&D Teams

Resource Type
Research Project
Gina O'Connor, Jennifer Bailey, PJ Guinan, Derek Shuttleworth, Jeff Harrison
Culture, Organization/Future of Work
Associated Event
Research Project

Initiated: Summer 2019
Expected completion:  Summer 2022
Quick pitch

Report at 2022 Annual Conference
To learn more, contact Matt Dorocak.

Value proposition

Working with a team from Babson College, member participants in this project are looking to examine the ways in which R&D senior management can structure teams, establish processes, and behave that will facilitate autonomy in R&D teams and allow them to feel empowered to be proactive.  There is already a great deal of research on this subject and yet, R&D organizations have not been able to put recommendations into practice or when they have, the results have not been enough to ameliorate the situation.  The working group aims to find out what specific techniques work best for R&D teams and how organizations have effectively empowered their teams.


The working group conducted five case studies to see how measures to enourage autonomy for R&D teams have been implemented in organizations and their level of effectiveness.

Anticipated Deliverables

The working group will report out at the 2022 IRI Annual Conference and plans to have an article for RTM.

Project leads

Gina O’Connor, Professor of Innovation Management, Babson College

Jen Bailey, Associate Professor, Georgia State University, J. Mack Robinson College of Business

PJ Guinan, Associate Professor, Operations and Information Management, Babson College

Derek Shuttleworth, External Science and Technology Program Manager, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (retired)

Jeff Harrison, Technical Director, Oil and Gas, Synthomer (retired)