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79-440/88-345/79-821 Prof. David A. Hounshell
Spring 1997 Carnegie Mellon University


Prof. David A. Hounshell



The electric light, nylon, the atomic bomb, the transistor and integrated circuits, Post-it notes, Teflon, and Silly Putty are all products that emerged from organized research and development (R&D) programs. What factors gave rise to modern R&D? When did industrial R&D laboratories appear in the United States and other industrialized nations? Did their creation change the character of science, technology, and business? How has the institutional-ization of R&D affected the work of the individual inventor and scientist? Does big business now dominate R&D in the United States, or does "the little guy" still play an important role in technological innovation? How has R&D been "managed"? With the globalization of business, is R&D being globalized, and if so, how is it being managed? What is the future of industrial R&D in the 21st century? These are some of the questions that are explored in the readings seminar, which is open to students from all colleges.


Seven short essays (each based on assigned readings and three to five typewritten pages in length) will be required and will count 35 percent of your final grade. You must have turned in at least three of these essays by February 27, 1997. A final examination will be given and will count 35 percent of your final grade. The degree and quality of your participation in the seminar will contribute the remaining 30 percent.

Required Books

Hacker, Diane, A Pocket Style Manual (Look for this under 79-200.)

Mowery, David, and Nathan Rosenberg, Technology and the Pursuit of Economic Growth

Leonard S. Reich, The Making of American Industrial Research

(Note: Throughout the semester, I will also be assigning articles that are required reading. One set of these articles will be placed on reserve in Hunt, and another will be available in a gray manuscripts box on the shelf outside my office.)


January 14 Introduction. Overview of the course. Discussion of the science/technology relationship.

January 16 American science, technology, and industry in the nineteenth century.

Assignment: Reich: Preface and Chapters 1 & 2

Usselman (Reserve): "Railroad Use of Scientists and Engineers: Testing and Research"

Mowery and Rosenberg, Chapters 2 & 3

January 21 Edison's Menlo Park Laboratory.

Assignment: Pretzer (Reserve): essays by Finn, Israel, and Hounshell

January 23 German dye industry and R&D.

Assignment: Meyer-Thurow (Reserve): "The Industrialization of Invention"

January 28 Founding General Electric Research Laboratory.

Assignment: Reich: Chapters 3 & 4

January 30 Whitney vs. Steinmetz

Assignment: Kline (Reserve): "New Settings for Research"

February 4 GE vs. Westinghouse.

Assignment: Reich: Chapter 5

Kline (Reserve): "Origins of Industrial Research at the Westinghouse Electric Company"

February 6 Ma Bell's research organization.

Assignment: Reich: Chapters 6, 7, 8, 9

February 11 Kodak

Assignment: Jenkins (Reserve): "George Eastman and the Coming of Research in America"

Sturchio (Reserve): Excerpts from "Experimenting with Research: Kenneth Mees, Eastman Kodak, and the Challenges of Diversification"

February 13 Du Pont

Assignment: Hounshell (Reserve): Excerpts from

" Continuity and Change in the Management of Industrial Research: The Du Pont Company, 1902-1980"

February 18 United States Industry and United States Steel.

Assignment: Little (Reserve): "Industrial Research in America"

Tiffany (Reserve): "Corporate Culture and Corporate Change: The Origins of Industrial Research at the United States Steel Corporation, 1901-1929"

February 20 Private and university industrial research, I.

Assignment: Servos (Reserve): "Changing Partners: The Mellon Institute, Private Industry, and the Federal Patron"

Servos (Reserve): "The Industrial Relations of Science: Chemical Engineering at MIT, 1900-1939"

Mowery and Rosenberg, Chapter 4

February 25 Private and university industrial research, II.

Assignment: Swann (Reserve): "The Rise of University-Industry Interactions in Biomedical Research"

February 27 The inventor as R&D director in the giant corporation.

Assignment: Leslie (Reserve): Read any two (2) of Chapters 1 through 9

March 4 Pure research in the corporation? Part I.

Assignment: Primary Documents from Du Pont (Handout)

NOTE: A short writing assignment on these documents will be due today. I will explain this assignment beforehand in class. If you desire, you can make this writing assignment part of the seven required essays.

March 6 Pure research in the corporation? Part II.

Assignment: Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "The 'Radical Departure': Charles Stine's Fundamental Research Program"

Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "Developing a Discipline: Chemical Engineering Research at Du Pont"

Russo (Reserve): "Fundamental Research at Bell Laboratories: The Discovery of Electron Diffraction"

March 11 Industrial R&D in Britain.

Assignment: Mowery and Rosenberg, Chapter 5

Varcoe (Reserve): "Co-operative Research Associations in British Industy, 1918-34"

March 13 International R&D in the interwar period.

Assignment: Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "Du Pont R&D in the International Sphere"

Erker (Reserve): "The Choice between Competition and Cooperation: Research and Development in the Electrical Industry in Germany and the Netherlands, 1920-1936"

Marsh (Reserve): "Strategies for Success: Research Organization in German Chemical Companies and IG Farben until 1936"

March 18 Managing research inside and outside the corporation.

Assignment: Wise (Reserve): "On a Wider Stage"

Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "The Conduct of Research"

March 20 World War II--an overview lecture.

Assignment: Bush (Reserve): Science: The Endless Frontier

April 1 The corporate R&D paradigm in post-war America.

Assignment: Nelson (Reserve): "The Link between Science and Invention: The Case of the Transistor"

Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "The War Years and Postwar Expansion of Research"

Pugh (Reserve), "Research [at IBM]"

April 3 The Cold War, Part I.

Assignment: Kevles (Reserve): "R&D and the Arms Race: An Analytical Look"

Mowery and Rosenberg, Chapter 6

April 8 The Cold War, Part II.

Assignment: Ramo (Reserve): The Business of Science, pp. 36- 144

Graham (Reserve): "Industrial Research in the Age of Big Science"

April 10 The economists discover R&D.

Assignment: Arrow (Reserve): "Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention"

Nelson (Reserve): "The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research"

Mowery and Rosenberg, Chapter 1

April 165 The aircraft industry, the VCR industry, and the semiconductor industry.

Assignment: Mowery and Rosenberg, Chapter 7

Rosenbloom and Cusamano (Reserve): "Technological Pioneering and Competitive Advantage: The Birth of the VCR Industry"

Moore (Reserve): "Some Personal Perspectives on Research in the Semiconductor Industry"

April 17 The chemical industry.

Assignment: Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "The New Venture Era"

Hounshell and Smith (Reserve): "Redirecting R&D: The 1970s"

April 22 The breakup of Ma Bell: The end of Bell Labs?

Assignment: Packet of readings (Reserve)

April 24 Globalization of R&D.

Assignment: Packet of readings (Reserve)

April 29 End of the R&D pioneers?.

Assignment: Packet of readings (Reserve)

May 1 The Future of Industrial Research; Reprise

Assignment: Packet of readings (Reserve)


Note: I retain the right to modify this syllbus at any time.79-440, 88-345, 79-821 Prof. David Hounshell

Spring 1997



My objective for these seven short papers is to provide students with an opportunity to formulate and address critical questions that emerge in the assigned readings and to convey their findings to me in writing. I will then be able to judge how well students are contending with the readings. These essays will also give me some feel for how well students communicate in writing as compared to their oral communication abilities. My markings on these papers will also provide students with critical feedback throughout the semester and a greater number of evaluation devices than if I were to rely solely on a final examination.


Topic of each paper: The topic of each paper will be the topic to be discussed in class on the day you turn your paper in, as scheduled in the syllabus or by me in class. You are free to choose any topic covered in the course. You should address all the assigned readings for a given day, but your essay can be focused more heavily on only part of them if you have good reasons (not having read the other assignments is not a good reason). If you have questions about this, please speak with me.

Due dates: You are free to choose any seven classes to turn in your papers. The only requirement is that each of the seven papers is due no later than the beginning of class the day the readings you address are being discussed in class.

Style sheet: Papers are to be typewritten, double-spaced with margins of one inch on each side of the page. Because you are required only to write about assigned readings, you can allude to or cite the readings in an easy, short form of your own devising so long as it is clear which readings you are discussing. Should you allude to or discuss any outside reading, please give full citations.


All matters of style, grammar, syntax, and punctuation will be assessed against the standards conveyed in Diane Hacker's A Pocket Style Manual, which is a required book for the course.

I will evaluate the papers with the following criteria in mind: How well does the student understand the readings discussed? How well does the student relate individual readings to other readings covered and ideas discussed in the course? How well does the student formulate questions that will lead us beyond the material under review? How effectively does the student communicate in written form?

I will mark the papers with scores ranging from 0 to 5, with 1 and below a failing grade, 2 a D, 3 a C, 4 a B, and 5 an A. I will also write comments on the papers and suggest ways to communicate your ideas more effectively. My criteria for grading are as follows:

A score of "5" is given when the essay, a. addresses excellently the central issue(s) raised by the assigned reading and relates these issues to larger themes of the course, and b. is written in excellent prose (i.e., with correct grammar and syntax, with the principal arguments made logically and consistently, and with a style that is consistent with the material being reviewed and the subject being studied).

A score of "4" is given when the essay is judged to be "good" on both the above-stated criteria (relating to "content" and "prose") or when the essay is judged to be "excellent" in one set of criterial and "average" in the other set.

A score of "3" is given when the essay is judged to be "average" on both the above-stated criteria (relating to "content" and "prose") or when one set of criteria is judged to fall below "average" while the other is "good" or above.

A score of "2" is given when the essay is judged to be "poor" on both the above-stated criteria (relating to "content" and "prose") or when one set of criteria is judged to fall below "poor" while the other is "average" or above.

A score of "1" is given when the essay is judged to be below the minimum acceptable standard in both the above-stated criteria (relatng to "content" and "prose").

A score of "0" is given for an essay that is not submitted.79-440, 88-345, 79-821 Prof. David Hounshell

Spring 1997


Because this course is designed as a discussion seminar, attendance and participation are critical to the learning experience. Class attendance is, therefore, mandatory. I recognize that people get sick, sometimes have to study or finish papers for other classes, go to job interviews, etc. These needs are accommodated in the following attendance policy: Students will be allowed two unexcused absences with no questions asked. Thereafter, each unexcused absence will automatically reduce your grade by five (5) points (on a one hundred-point scale) irrespective of your performance in other dimensions of the course. I reserve the right to determine what is an "excused absence." As you rule, you should speak to me face-to-face or communicate with me via telephone or email before your absence.

I expect students to devote their full attention to the seminar when in session and to participate in discussions by offering comments; taking positions; raising questions; pushing peers to explain, clarify, or expand their comments; and the like. By being engaged, you will be both teaching others and learning from others.79-821 Spring 1997 Professor David A. Hounshell

Graduate Student Requirements

Welcome, graduate student, to my course, "The Rise of Industrial Research and Development." I seek to make this course meaningful to you and helpful to your career, whether that career is in public or private management, engineering, or history.

I have not prepared a separate syllabus for the graduate section of this course. However, please note several important differences. First, you will not be required to take a final examination. Rather, in place of the final, you are required to submit a 15-page paper, the subject of which is to be negotiated by you and me. Generally the paper is a literature review of some type. My goal for this requirement is for the paper to serve as a bridge between the material covered in this course and the work you are doing in other classes, your job, or for your degree. Thus, if you are in a graduate seminar on organization theory, you might want to do a literature review that focuses particularly on industrial R&D organizations; if you are thinking about writing a doctoral dissertation on some aspect of the semiconductor industry, you might develop a paper on R&D in the industry over time. The goal is for the paper to be genuinely useful to you. That said, I do not want the paper to be too much the product of "double dipping" (i.e., using the same paper for two different classes).

I do expect you to write all seven papers discussed in the main syllabus, and I do expect you to be a strong discussant in the classroom. I will grade your essays more stringently than I do the essays submitted by the undergraduates, and I will evaluate your classroom participation by a higher standard.

I expect you to do all the reading assigned in the syllabus. On top of this reading, I will require you to have read, by the end of the semester, all of John Smith's and my book on Du Pont, Science and Corporate Strategy.

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