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What motivates the engineers to patent?

A study at the Chinese R&D laboratories of a European MNC
: Potekhina, Anna; Blind, Knut


The journal of technology transfer 45 (2020), No.2, pp.461-480
ISSN: 0892-9912
ISSN: 1573-7047
Journal Article
Fraunhofer FOKUS ()
Fraunhofer ISI ()

Corporate R&D engineers, being usually the initiators of a patent, are important contributors to the patenting performance of their employers. Hence, patenting motives of R&D engineers encompass an interesting and promising research field. However, the literature on patenting motivation of the engineers in the corporate context is scarce. We apply self-determination theory on human motivation to investigate patenting motives of a sample of local R&D engineers in China employed by a European-based multi-national corporation. Factor analysis reveals four groups of motives: “reward and recognition”, “reputation and promotion”, “making a contribution” and “interest and sense of achievement”. The results of multiple hierarchical regression show the influence of working climate on “making a contribution” and “interest and sense of achievement” motivation factors. Implications for patent management are discussed.