Succession Planning for Scientific Positions: Identifying, Developing, and Retaining Leaders for Innovation
Planning who will lead for scientific innovation poses challenges on multiple fronts. First, leadership in scientific organizations is difficult-requiring substantial domain, organizational, and field-level expertise and identifying individuals who have potential and interest in such leadership roles is a challenge at best. Much evidence suggests that these leaders come from the ranks of scientists-individuals characterized by high levels of field commitment (vs. organizational commitment), need for autonomy (vs. need for affiliation), and intense levels of intellectual curiosity for the work (vs. for managing the work) ( Mumford & Gustafson, 1988 ). Although these exact characteristics might help one innovate as an individual contributor, they may militate against what is required to lead teams and organizations in scientific pursuits ( Mumford, Scott, Gaddis, & Strange, 2002 ). Thus, organizations are charged with a complex job of identifying these rare individuals early and preparing them for roles in which they may not succeed without substantial planning and development.