Examining Gender Bias in Studies of Innovation
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Examining Gender Bias in Studies of Innovation By: Nicola Crowden Innocom Conference October 18 - 21, 2003 Linkages • Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology - CPROST • Innovation Systems Research Network - ISRN - has never considered the impact of gender in responses to interview guides. - current analysis on technological innovation is assumed to be gender neutral. • Womens’ Advisory Group on Innovation Studies - WAGIS WAGIS’s Working Hypothesis • Would men and women answer the questions in the ISRN questionnaire differently? Is there an Inherent Bias? - Not a simple answer. - systemic and cultural challenges effect women's participation rate in technological innovation. (glass ceiling, existing corporate culture) - If under represent women's perspectives - could effect how we understand innovation. WAGIS’s Working Hypothesis Cont... • Do Innovation-type surveys serve to exclude certain forms of innovative practices by using a limited target population? • Yes. - exclude services (biotech consulting), cultural composition of workplace Research Methods • Focus groups: two groups of seven women working in executive or Sr. management positions within relevant industrial sectors who have decision making roles within their firm. • Interviews: eight women from the private sector who did not respond to the request to participate in focus groups • Rational: to discredit claims of self-selection sampling bias. Themes A) OSLO Manual’s definition of innovation reflects a ‘success bias’, ignores the role of support services, and it does not measure cultural and social elements involved in the innovation process. - FG participants stated provides a narrow view of innovation, doesn’t include trial and error, failed innovations, and methodologies used in their creation. - also ignores, service sector (OSLO Manual . 4.2.3 - relates to manufacturing) Themes Cont... B) Surveys measuring innovation need to examine the culture surrounding innovation and how firms nurture the innovation process. This includes assessing human and cultural capital - lacks questions regarding human resources (how companies, retain employees, employee demographics and policies effecting employee demographics) - Oslo Manual S. 3.3 suggests mapping these dynamics but doesn’t suggest how. - need to measure organization culture - to promote knowledge creation and transfer Themes Cont…. C) Interdisciplinary tactics and teamwork promote innovation. - majority if FG and Interview participants perceived social processes to be fundamental to the innovation process - implying teamwork for successful knowledge creation. Recommendations 1) Sampling Methods: Innovation studies are gender-blind in terms of recruitment. Researchers should determine what type of innovator to interview in order to include women’s perspectives. • The type of innovation one participates in depends on their position in the firm - which is inevitably influenced by gender. Researcher must include those involved in the processes of innovation rather than only the CEO. • Perhaps a cross section of middle management would be more effective. Recommendations Cont... 2) Sampling Methods: Responder Demographics • Demographic data of interview participants is not currently collected. This would assist in the analysis of future socioeconomic research on professional life cycles ….. 3) Sampling Methods: Supporting Services • Social factors influence the large number of women employed in the service sector. The service sector is an integral part of innovation-based economies and it is therefore essential to include them. Recommendations Cont... 4) Scope of Questions: Innovative Culture • Need to focus more on cultures influencing innovative processes. • Assessing human resources and social processes affecting knowledge development is needed. 5) Scope of Questions: Pro-Innovation Bias • An increased emphasis on studying the reasons some innovations succeed while others fail, in short the ‘trial and error’ and frequent failures associated with innovation, may influence structure and promotion of innovative work environments.