Cover of The Secret of Success by Polly S. Rizova
The Secret of Success
The Double Helix of Formal and Informal Structures in an R&D Laboratory
Polly S. Rizova


200 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804755702


Excerpts and More

The Secret of Success is a fascinating exploration of the enigma of technological innovation. It provides a new paradigm for academic scholars and a manifesto for managers on how to release the latent talent of research teams for optimal effect. Based on an investigation conducted in the R&D laboratory of a Fortune 500 company, the book synthesizes interviews with sophisticated quantitative techniques to provide insights into how knowledge travels and how it is used in technical organizations to aid innovation. The author offers a new perspective on the factors that need to be taken into account when managing R&D projects, and examines particularly how these factors should be mobilized and combined in the quest for success. The book suggests that the informal advice relations need to be reinforced through, and not thwarted by, the formal structure. This is compulsory reading for anyone interested in the central problems of research and design in the knowledge industries of the twenty-first century.

About the author

Polly S. Rizova is Associate Professor of Management at Willamette University.

"...Both practitioners and academics should find value in this book. Few studies have made such efforts to investigate the interaction between formal and informal social structures...Practitioners can certainly benefit from the thought-provoking scenarios she describes."

—Willow A. Sheremata, York University