What motivates the engineers to patent? A study at the Chinese R&D laboratories of a European MNC

Abstract

Corporate R&D engineers, being usually the initiators of a patent, are important contributors to the patenting performance of their employers. Hence, patenting motives of R&D engineers encompass an interesting and promising research field. However, the literature on patenting motivation of the engineers in the corporate context is scarce. We apply self-determination theory on human motivation to investigate patenting motives of a sample of local R&D engineers in China employed by a European-based multi-national corporation. Factor analysis reveals four groups of motives: “reward and recognition”, “reputation and promotion”, “making a contribution” and “interest and sense of achievement”. The results of multiple hierarchical regression show the influence of working climate on “making a contribution” and “interest and sense of achievement” motivation factors. Implications for patent management are discussed.

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Correspondence to Knut Blind.

Appendix: Variables, measures and descriptive statistics

Appendix: Variables, measures and descriptive statistics

See Tables 5, 6 and 7.

Table 5 Descriptive statistics for patenting motives
Table 6 Variables and measures
Table 7 Descriptive statistics for multiple regressions

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Potekhina, A., Blind, K. What motivates the engineers to patent? A study at the Chinese R&D laboratories of a European MNC. J Technol Transf 45, 461–480 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10961-018-9707-z

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Keywords

  • Patenting motivation
  • R&D management
  • Self-determination theory

JEL Classification

  • O31
  • O32
  • O34