Title: Assistant Professor (Teaching/Instructional Track) & Academic Director, Entrpreneurship
Office: Alter Hall 538
In his dual roles as Academic Director of the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI – www.fox.temple.edu/iei/) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Strategic Management, Robert is responsible for managing and developing Entrepreneurship and Innovation focused educational programs for the Fox School of Business, promoting these programs both inside and outside the university, advising Entrepreneurship students, and teaching courses in the IEI’s programs. Finally, his role as the IEI’s academic director also involves facilitating high-impact research collaborations between Temple University faculty and outside corporate and government partners.
Robert’s research focus is in the areas of knowledge exchange, creativity, innovation, and organizational learning. He views the world through an OB, psychological, or sociological lens (although his work ranges across micro as well as macro topics). Previous to returning to academia, Robert worked for nearly 10 years as a systems integrator, technical sales manager, and strategic marketing director in the knowledge management industry. His professional experience at reseller-integrators, software developers, and service bureaus balanced technical consulting and systems analysis with sales, marketing, and management.
Robert’s primary research stream applies a problem solving process-based perspective to contextualize knowledge exchange interactions. This framework is critical to help understand the role of both unsolicited and solicited knowledge in ‘Pull’(receiver initiated) and ‘Push’ (source initiated) knowledge flows. He draws upon and integrates literature from a number of domains (e.g. knowledge search-transfer, knowledge sharing via repositories, advice sharing, creative ideation, organizational/group creativity, and innovation acceptance/adoption) to understand source and recipient motivations in these types of interactions, organizational barriers to each type of knowledge flow, and the value of these flows to organizational productivity, learning, and change.
In order to gather data for this research, Robert partnered with the Industrial Research Institute (IRI – www.iriweb.org) and co-founded a new working group to study knowledge collaboration and Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) technologies / Enterprise Social Computing (e.g. social networking, wikis, blogs, forums — Web 2.0 technologies utilized inside corporations). As an invited subject matter expert for the IRI, Robert has gained the support and participation of Fortune 500 companies, national labs, and federal research centers. Representatives from dozens of organizations have participated to date, providing insights, personal experience, and research access. The first phase of the project focused on establishing baseline measures of collaboration and knowledge exchange within organizations, benchmarking organizations against one another, and providing examples of departments with the optimal climates for knowledge sharing (e.g., those with the most positive motivators and least negative demotivators). Phase two is examining barriers to E2.0 adoption as well as the impact of E2.0 systems on knowledge exchange networks.
In addition to his research on knowledge exchange in organizations, Robert also has two other related research streams: The first of these is focused on knowledge and technology spaces and uses secondary data (e.g., patent data) to evaluate questions about technological trajectories, knowledge recombination, and knowledge spillovers. This research stream is nearly as significant as his research on knowledge exchange and he has spent a great deal of time developing extensive expertise with patent data, building very significant and unique patent datasets (e.g. one includes the full text of abstracts, claims, and descriptions for over 2.5 million patents in the NBER dataset), and developing new methodologies for working with patent data (e.g. similarity metrics that work with classification hierarchies).
Robert’s final research stream looks at expertise, reputation, and status, using full-text content analysis to examine the construction and effects of reputation and status. He has worked on several projects downloading and parsing articles such as newspaper and press releases to create and assess constructs such as corporate or individual reputation. The programs he has written make it possible to create massive datasets (currently over 700,000 articles have been processed) in order to track corporate, individual, event based, or topical content over significant periods of time and across large numbers of news sources.
Robert’s research has been published in both scholarly journals (e.g., Organization Science) as well as practitioner oriented journals (e.g., Research Technology Management) and his solo-authored paper on cross-cultural cognitive differences in the evaluation of creative ideas was nominated for the prestigious Temple/AIB best paper award for the Academy of International Business in 2010.
Read Professor McNamee’s recent op-ed in Region’s Business Journal.
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