Looking across and looking beyond the knowledge frontier: intellectual distance and resource allocation in science

Boudreau, K and Guinan, E and Lakhani, K R and Riedl, C (2016) Looking across and looking beyond the knowledge frontier: intellectual distance and resource allocation in science. Management Science, 62 (10). pp. 2765-2783. ISSN 0025-1909

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Official URL: http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/10.1287/mnsc.201...

Abstract

Selecting among alternative innovative projects is a core management task in all innovating organizations. In this paper, we focus on the evaluation of frontier scientific research projects. We argue that the "intellectual distance" between the knowledge embodied in research proposals and an evaluator's own expertise systematically relates to the evaluations given (and consequent resource allocation). We empirically evaluate effects in data collected from a grant proposal process at a leading research university in which we randomized the assignment of evaluators and proposals to generate 2,130 evaluator-proposal pairs. We find evaluators systematically give lower scores to research proposals closer to their own areas of expertise, and to highly novel research proposals. We interpret the empirical patterns in relation to a range of theoretical mechanisms and discuss implications for policy, managerial intervention and allocation of resources in the ongoing accumulation of scientific knowledge.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 INFORMS
Subject Areas: Strategy and Entrepreneurship
DOI: 10.1287/mnsc.2015.2285
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2016 18:51
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2017 16:05
URI: http://lbsresearch.london.edu/id/eprint/175

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