Organisational culture in distributed, virtual research organisations

Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs) assemble multi-disciplinary teams from across research providers to address end-user-driven research.  They collaborate across all sectors (industry, academia, state government, consumers and industry associations) and create critical mass in their field.  

However, no real consideration has been given to how the CRCs interact with their participants and it is expected that there is a lot of variation in how CRCs actually interact.  All CRC-like organisations refer to getting the ‘culture’ right, but they falter at describing the right culture and then fostering it.

CRCs (and Australian Centres of Excellence and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft—or Fraunhofers—, etc) all tend to say the right culture is one that leans towards industry ‘pull’, few have considered how it might be measured.

Given the culture is seen as a critical success factor by so many people, it is important to understand that culture and potentially provide some tools to foster it.

The aim of this research would be to determine what is likely to be the right organisational culture for a CRC, how it could be measured and to create a framework that would enable CRCs to develop a measurable, appropriate culture.  This would be determined by undertaking case studies in CRCs, Fraunhofers and either a US or Canadian set of organisations of similar nature using semi-structured interviews and surveys.