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Conflicting Logics? A Multidimensional View of Industrial and Academic Science


  • Henry Sauermann

    () (Scheller College of Business, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30308)

  • Paula Stephan

    () (Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302; National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138; and Department of Economics, University of Torino, 10149 Torino, Italy)


A growing body of research views industrial and academic science as characterized by conflicting institutional logics. However, other scholars have long claimed that stark differences between the two sectors exist in theory but not in practice. Drawing on both views and the broader organizational literature, we develop a conceptual framework to compare and contrast industrial and academic science along four interdependent dimensions: (1) the nature of work, (2) characteristics of the workplace, (3) characteristics of workers, and (4) the disclosure of research results. We then employ detailed survey data on a sample of more than 5,000 research-active life scientists and physical scientists to examine key aspects of the framework empirically. Our results suggest that the conflicting logics view tends to overstate differences across sectors while ignoring important heterogeneity within sectors. We further advance the understanding of institutional logics by examining the relationships among dimensions of science, including the degree to which differences in the nature of work explain differences in how work is organized and results are disclosed. We discuss directions for future research on the institution of science as well as implications for managers and policy makers concerned with scientific activity within and across sectors.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry Sauermann & Paula Stephan, 2013. "Conflicting Logics? A Multidimensional View of Industrial and Academic Science," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 24(3), pages 889-909, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ororsc:v:24:y:2013:i:3:p:889-909

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    Cited by:

    1. Elisa Alvarez-Garrido & Gary Dushnitsky, 2016. "Are entrepreneurial venture's innovation rates sensitive to investor complementary assets? Comparing biotech ventures backed by corporate and independent VCs," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(5), pages 819-834, May.
    2. Gans, Joshua S. & Murray, Fiona E. & Stern, Scott, 2017. "Contracting over the disclosure of scientific knowledge: Intellectual property and academic publication," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 820-835.
    3. repec:kap:sbusec:v:48:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11187-016-9795-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Henry Sauermann, 2017. "Fire in the Belly? Employee Motives and Innovative Performance in Startups versus Established Firms," NBER Working Papers 23099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Fisher, Greg & Kuratko, Donald F. & Bloodgood, James M. & Hornsby, Jeffrey S., 2017. "Legitimate to whom? The challenge of audience diversity and new venture legitimacy," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 52-71.
    6. repec:ksp:journ2:v:4:y:2017:i:3:p:320-325 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:respol:v:46:y:2017:i:10:p:1769-1782 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Conti, Annamaria & Visentin, Fabiana, 2015. "A revealed preference analysis of PhD students’ choices over employment outcomes," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(10), pages 1931-1947.
    9. repec:spr:scient:v:111:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11192-017-2319-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Fagateanu Alina-Mihaela & Nicolaescu Sergiu Ştefan & Kifor Claudiu Vasile & Mărginean Silvia, 2015. "Student Career Management – Private and Public Sector Involvement," Balkan Region Conference on Engineering and Business Education, Sciendo, vol. 1(1), pages 1-9, November.


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