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

  • Anna Potekhina
  • Knut BlindEmail author


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.


Patenting motivation R&D management Self-determination theory 

JEL Classification

O31 O32 O34 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Robert Bosch GmbHStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and Management, Chair of Innovation EconomicsTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Fraunhofer Institute of Open Communication SystemsBerlinGermany

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