SOURCE: MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review

September 17, 2013 12:00 ET

MIT SMR Announces Winners of 2013 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwired - Sep 17, 2013) - Today the editors of MIT Sloan Management Review announced that Eoin Whelan, Salvatore Parise, Jasper de Valk and Rick Aalbers are the winners of the 2013 Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the authors of the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development published from fall 2011 to summer 2012.

The prize was awarded for the article entitled "Creating Employee Networks That Deliver Open Innovation." Eoin Whelan is a lecturer in information management at the Kemmy Business School of the University of Limerick in Limerick, Ireland. Salvatore Parise is an associate professor of information systems at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Jasper de Valk is a consultant at VODW in Leusden, the Netherlands. Rick Aalbers is assistant professor, strategy & innovation at the Nijmegen School of Management, Radboud University, the Netherlands.

The authors noted that companies such as Procter & Gamble, Cisco Systems, Genzyme, General Electric and Intel are often credited with having attained market leadership through open innovation strategies. By tapping into and exploiting technological knowledge beyond their own in-house research and development structures, these companies outmaneuvered rivals. But while other organizations try to follow the example set by these trailblazers, the authors' research suggests that many are failing because they neglect to ensure that the outside ideas reach the people best equipped to exploit them.

"This article makes important contributions to research and practice as virtual and face-to-face networks evolve together in organizations," reported the judges. "In the vital area of innovation, the authors identified the 'idea connector' as one who transmits ideas from an 'idea scout.' Successful connectors have the interpersonal skills and informal contacts to complement the work of the scouts, whose information collection is often primarily Web-based."

The authors used data from their analysis of network connections as well as extensive personal interviews. They offered recommendations to senior managers and R&D leaders toward identifying and rewarding the connectors and scouts in their roles over the phases of innovation.

In making their decision, the judges noted that Richard Beckhard recognized the central and fundamental importance of effective communications and interpersonal relationships to an organization's business success as well as to employee motivation and fulfillment. He would, they concluded, have insisted we look closely at how technology both enables and constrains organizational and personal productivity and effectiveness, and this year's winning article takes up that concern with insight and practical significance.

This year's panel of judges consisted of distinguished members of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty: Schussel Family Professor of Management Science and chairman of the MIT Sloan Management Review managing board Erik Brynjolfsson, retired senior lecturer Cyrus Gibson and Erwin H. Schell Professor of Management John Van Maanen.

About Richard Beckhard and the Beckhard Prize

One of the founders and architects of the field of organizational development, Professor Richard Beckhard was a member of the MIT Sloan School of Management faculty for more than 20 years. A longtime friend of MIT Sloan Management Review, Beckhard was known for his efforts to help organizations function in a more humane and high-performing manner and to empower people to be agents of change.

About MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review leads the discourse among academic researchers, business executives and other influential thought leaders about advances in management practice that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT SMR disseminates new management research and innovative ideas so that thoughtful executives can capitalize on the opportunities generated by rapid organizational, technological and societal change.

Contact Information

  • Deborah Gallagher
    MIT Sloan Management Review
    617 253 3967
    Email Contact