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This paper presents initial work at two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories to develop a process for assessing and improving the effectiveness of research organizations. The approach to assessment reflects the complexity of the research environment and provides information that allows the research organization to define a few key actions for improvement. The work described here focuses on identifying attributes of DOE laboratory research environments that are most important for fostering excellent research. Thirty-six attributes in four areas were identified by scientists and engineers at these institutions and are presented using the Competing Values model for discussing organizational effectiveness. These attributes served as the basis for the development of a self-assessment survey and improvement process designed specifically for research environments. Assessments involving more than 1000 scientists and engineers in four organizations have shown that this approach provides a good basis for understanding and improvement.
Date of Publication: May 2003