The classical picture of a scientist, primarily the researcher since historic times, never reflected an image of a person in a hurry. By his very nature, the scientist is accepted as painstaking and thorough to the last detail. This is not the case in today’s environment where management places a pivotal part in the R&D sector of the world. Management thus, faces an interesting challenge in trying to correlate the actions of such individuals with the realization that in present day industrial development, scores of products and projects are obsolete before they ever appear in the marketplace.
It is here were management faces a dilemma. It is a time consuming and laborious task for management to decide what research objective it has to pursue in order to meet its ultimate research need of maximizing the profit of the organization. The questions regarding what can management do to ensure the maximum output from its research and development personnel and meeting deadlines dependent on research and development are a logical outgrowth of the pondering over the above said dilemma. The ways to solve this dilemma can be quite subjective based on the management’s experience, intuition or industry practices. A standard procedure that would be common in every context would be exploration.
Solving the dilemma is primarily three fold- identify, analyze, and manage.
Identify: The first step is to distinguish between a problem (which can be solved with a single, discrete solution) and a dilemma, which has no one best solution and must be managed over time.
Analyze: Once a dilemma has been identified, it is important to clarify its opposing forces and pinpoint the potential and risk of each.
Manage: After a dilemma has been thoroughly assessed, the next task is to develop specific strategies that will achieve the best of both sides of the dilemma. A set of guidelines can be followed to help craft strategies and plan their execution.
Discovering the management dilemma in whatever identifiable terms possible, be it outright problems and opportunities or symptoms of these. This will enable management in exploration of the symptoms or the identified problems though reviewing of past trends, published sources, interviews and discussions. This exploration boils down the procedure to the actual problem and define the management question that needs to be researched upon. The exploration does not end here, there is a need for another round of exploring into the defined question using various other qualitative techniques. All the possible actions can be considered and possible solutions to all the management questions can be identified. With this, it becomes easy to define certain research questions which would involve alternative course of actions on a priority basis. The action with the greatest benefit and less resource utilization shall be researched first.
Before beginning with any kind of research, management should understand that every research is decision and dilemma centered and hence, they should craft clarified research questions through the careful exploration and analysis of the problems and /or their symptoms. As said by Dutch-American journalist Hendrik Willem Van Loon, “Somewhere in the world there is an epigram for every dilemma”, systematic exploring of the situation and keeping the ultimate need in sync with the exploration can be helpful in narrowing down the dilemmas to assertive research solutions.
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