Public Administration ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis begins with the hypothesis that various types of R&D management control systems exist and have been operating for many years. Because of the general availability of R&D funds, these systems may have not been completely understood or used to the fullest extent by R&D laboratory technical managements. In order to investigate the hypothsis, a model of a management control system was developed in chapter II by searching the literature on the subject written over the past two decades, This literature search revealed a pattern of general agreement among the authors on certain elements which they believed needed special attention by R&D managers as a part of good R&D laboratory management. These essential elements were reduced to eleven different categories in the model. They were: technology forecasting, setting company goals and objectives, long-range planning, short-range planning, research strategy, organizing for research, project selection and allocation of resources, the budget process, review of cost vs. budget, project review, and post project review. In order to test the validity of this model, Sandia Laboratory, a Government owned, privately operated laboratory, was chosen for an in-depth study. Through interviews, a description of the management control systems used by Sandia at the present time for comparison with the model was obtained, The level of acceptance by Sandia’s technical management of the concepts suggested in the model developed in chapter II was determined through the use of a questionnaire. These results appear to reject the hypothesis for the following reasons:

1. It was found that although not formalized to the degree suggested by the model, Sandia management was practicing on a selective basis the concepts established by the model.

2. The data indicated a much greater agreement than was expected with the concepts established by the model by all levels of technical management at Sandia.

Disagreement with the model most often occurred in the form of expressed caution with respect to making any management control system too formal. The concern was that becoming too formal could restrict the flexibility which was felt to be necessary for an effective R&D laboratory.

Degree Name

Public Administration

Level of Degree


Department Name

School of Public Administration

First Committee Member (Chair)

Albert H. Rosenthal

Second Committee Member

Donald Winston Smithburg

Third Committee Member

Gerald Joseph Boyle



Document Type