TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATION IN THE SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY: ITS RELATION TO R & D SUBSYSTEM WORK CLIMATE
KeywordsSemiconductor industry -- Technological innovations -- Management.
Technological innovations -- Management.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe purpose of this study is to examine the work environment of research and development (R & D) subsystems and ascertain the relationship between technological innovation and the work environment. The focus of the study is the semiconductor industry, (SIC 3674), which is a prime example of a rapid growth, research intensive industry. The industry, in the past decade, has been characterized by very rapid technological advances with a subsequent high growth rate for most firms in the industry. Two instruments were developed to measure technological innovation. The first instrument, the innovation index, estimated the actual innovations developed by each company since 1970. The index consisted of a comprehensive list of technological innovations that could have been adopted and developed by the companies in the industry. The second instrument, the perceived innovativeness questionnaire, assessed company innovativeness as perceived by the R & D personnel. The R & D work environment was assessed with the work climate questionnaire which consisted of ten work climate dimensions, selected for their theoretical relevance and importance in the light of prior research on innovation. These dimensions were: autonomy, cooperation, supportiveness, structure, level of reward, performance-reward dependency, achievement motivation, status polarization, flexibility and decision centralization. Interviews were conducted as part of the research study to provide information on the development of innovations in the semiconductor industry and, secondly, to determine what changes, if any, had occurred in the nature of the work environment of the R & D subsystems of the semiconductor companies. Data for the study were collected from eight semiconductor companies (SIC 3674). Respondents included all the vice presidents for the R & D subsystems of the companies and a total of 136 research and development personnel from the eight companies. Content analysis of the interviews suggests that: (1) innovation development in the semiconductor industry is perceived as a multiphased process rather than a single event. This process consists of three stages: idea generation and evaluation (initiation stage); approval and adoption stage; and development and implementation stage; and (2) the work environment of the R & D subsystem is characterized by relative stability of work climate over a period of time. Statistical analyses of the data offer some support for the view that technological innovation is related to the R & D subsystem work climate. Significant positive relations were found between technological innovation and the work climate dimensions of performance-reward dependency, flexibility, achievement motivation, autonomy, cooperation, supportiveness and perceived innovativeness; significant negative relationship was found between technological innovation and decision centralization. Work climate differences between the high innovative group and low innovative group showed significant differences between the two groups in the work climate dimensions of autonomy, performance-reward dependency, achievement motivation, flexibility, decision centralization and perceived innovativeness. The results of the study suggest that: (1) technological innovation is related to R & D subsystem work climate; (2) the nature of work climate that characterizes the R & D subsystems of highly innovative companies is different from that which characterizes their less innovative counterparts.
Degree ProgramGraduate College