Zett, Mary Lou (1988, ASQC) Ortho Pharmaceutical Corporation, Advanced Care Pharmaceutical Products Division, Raritan, NJ
The transfer of licensed technology from an outside contract research firm to a purchasing company is a very complex system of interactions. Often the center of concern is the technical aspect of the transferred product. What are the specifications? How should the materials or the components be handled, stored, tested, and packaged, etc...? Also, there are concerns regarding the financial arrangements for the technology swap. Who owns the technology? How will the money be dealt out during the transfer process and what will be the criteria for the financial agreement? How much information does the purchasing company have access to during the vendor surveys and subsequent quality audits? Once the commitment is made to purchase the technology, how do we maintain the validity and reliability of the subsequent transactions with the vendor?
Not in the limelight for risk assessment are issues that deal with organizational factors, such as: What roles do trust, confidentiality, power, group cohesiveness, and motivation, etc... play in affecting the quality of decisions during the technology transfer process? However, studies show that these factors may have a significant impact on the reliability and validity of information communicated within an organization's decision making system and transactions between organizations negotiating a technology swap.
The purpose of the research study presented is to identify those significant organizational factors associated with the technology transfer process and to demonstrate how an assessment of these factors can be made during an audit of the contractor. The research design of the study conducted, using Alfred Kuhn's system theory model for within group and between group interactions, is described. A practical application of the test results of the study is developed into the form of an audit checklist searching for organizational factors associated with the technology transfer process. This checklist represents a "tool" for conducting as assessment of risk regarding the reliability and validity of the transaction between supplier and buyer.
The theoretical framework of the research is organizational theory and systems management. The results demonstrate that the practice of using quality engineering professionals as consultants during the technology transfer process has a positive impact on the effectiveness of the transactions between the supplier and purchasing company. This independent research study represents the author's positive response to facing the challenge of "selling" quality engineering to upper management.
The material presented does not represent the position of the author's company, but rather it is an independent study which is being conducted under the guidance of the Fielding Institute of Santa Barbara, California.