PhD Defence Linn Kolbe

Information & Innovation Management

Dissertation Title
The mindset of the R&D professional: Decision making in innovative contexts

Date & Location
June 1, 2015 at 15:45 in the Aula of the Main Building of the VU University Amsterdam


The mindset of the R&D professional: Decision making in innovative contexts


Kolbe, LinnResearch and Development (R&D) professionals in high-technology industries are required to make decisions in a complex and uncertain environment. This complexity grows, since firms increasingly open up their processes of innovation to develop innovative ideas in association with external actors such as suppliers, competitors and customers. Such an environment calls for professionals who are able to face up to and manage technical challenges. It also requires individuals who are able to deal with interpersonal challenges and drive the development of new ways to innovate.

Based on quantitative and qualitative studies, this dissertation investigates the role of the R&D professional in driving innovative and collaborative behavior in R&D departments. It draws upon theories from the field of psychology, and from behavioral decision-making literature. Thus, it elucidates how the decision-making process of innovation unfolds, investigates how the decisional orientation of a manager can influence partnering in innovative projects, and identifies belief systems that may drive or inhibit collaborative innovation. The findings indicate that it is not sufficient for managers to be able to accurately analyze information. More importantly, they should know how to include intuition into the decision-making process, facilitate negotiations about diverse interests, and take into account positive and negative beliefs regarding different innovative practices.

Short Biography

Linn M. Kolbe (1983) did her PhD at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at VU University, Amsterdam. Prior to that, she received an MSc degree in Work, Organizational, and Personnel Psychology (cum laude) from the University of Barcelona and Paris Descartes University. She also worked for a consulting company, organizing the development of training programs in the area of human resource management.