Bootlegging in the R&D Departments of High-Technology Firms

Masoudnia, Yaser; Szwejczewski, Marek
September 2012
Research Technology Management;Sep/Oct2012, Vol. 55 Issue 5, p35
Academic Journal
The existence of bootlegging during the innovation process raises the question why employees undertake such a clandestine activity. This research examines why employees choose to bootleg and hide their innovative activities from the rest of the organization, especially the senior management. The research is based on 55 in-depth interviews with bootleggers working in R&D departments of 34 high technology companies. This paper concludes that the activity was undertaken to reduce the uncertainty associated with an idea and so increase the likelihood of being accepted by senior management and developed further through official channels. It also found that the primary motivation behind bootlegging was the desire of the individual to undertake work that will benefit the organization. INSET: Examples of Bootlegging Projects.


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