Linda Sutt

Title: 'Innovation Agencies Revisited: The Cases of Sitra, Fraunhofer, DARPA and BNDES'

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Rainer Kattel

Opponent: Olga Mikheeva, MA, Junior Research Fellow

Defense: 6 June 2014


Abstract: Although the cases of Sitra, Fraunhofer, DARPA and BNDES have been extensively examined, there are no articles analysing these cases in terms of autonomy, decision making practices and human resource management and at the same time bringing out the effects of the current techno-economic paradigm and comparing the cases from Weberian point of view. These are interesting points to explore because all of the chosen cases are often seen in both academic and policy circles as outstanding success stories. This paper is built on presumption and supported by literature that classical innovation agencies are strong powerful Weberian organisations that are located in the centre of a public administration system. After analysing the cases of Sitra, Fraunhofer, DARPA and BNDES, the thesis reveals that there is no single practice in terms of autonomy and central-peripheral positioning, however it was clearly apparent that all of the cases have highly decentralised internal decision making processes and Non-Weberian human resource management systems (except in the case of BNDES that has a clear career and meritocratic recruitment system). Although the results are specific to particular cases, they can serve as best practices and might prove to be helpful also for other innovation agencies.

Keywords: Sitra, Fraunhofer, DARPA, BNDES, autonomy, decision making, human resource management, innovation agencies.