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Regular version of the site

Article

Managing skills for open innovation: the case of biotechnology

Management Decision. 2018. Vol. 56. No. 6. P. 1336-1347.
Lavrynenko A. S., Shmatko N. A., Meissner D.

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the composition of skillsets in biotechnology from the perspective of employers and its relation to open innovation processes in the sector. It provides conclusions for HR management practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is based on job advertisements content analysis and in-depth interviews with chiefs of research and development companies. It uses biotechnology as an example of industry where open innovation practice implementation is expanding. The authors have used data from American, British and Russian job search engines.

Findings

It is demonstrated that skills composition required in biotechnology does not vary significantly among selected countries as the market becomes increasingly globalized in terms of not only technology used but also personnel hired. Companies stress more on hard and digital skills, while soft skills appear to be a “must have without saying,” The mismatch between skills presented in the advertisements and articulated in the interviews has been found as employers tend to demonstrate innovation friendly company culture for possible applicants.

Originality/value

The present paper enriches literature on employee skills for open innovation. It gives comprehensive lists of biotech skills in-demand divided into hard, digital and soft categories and interprets them within the context of employee cognition and behavior. The new insight into employee skills articulated by the companies as a strong element of organizational culture is presented.