Understanding fear of opportunism in global prize-based science contests: Evidence for gender and age differences

Acar, O. A. & van den Ende, J. (2015). Understanding fear of opportunism in global prize-based science contests: Evidence for gender and age differences. PLoS ONE, 10(7), 0134898.. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134898

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Abstract

Global prize-based science contests have great potential for tapping into diverse knowledge on a global scale and overcoming important scientific challenges. A necessary step for knowledge to be utilized in these contests is for that knowledge to be disclosed. Knowledge disclosure, however, is paradoxical in nature: in order for the value of knowledge to be assessed, inventors must disclose their knowledge, but then the person who receives that knowledge does so at no cost and may use it opportunistically. This risk of potential opportunistic behavior in turn makes the inventor fearful of disclosing knowledge, and this is a major psychological barrier to knowledge disclosure. In this project, we investigated this fear of opportunism in global prize-based science contests by surveying 630 contest participants in the InnoCentive online platform for science contests. We found that participants in these science contests experience fear of opportunism to varying degrees, and that women and older participants have significantly less fear of disclosing their scientific knowledge. Our findings highlight the importance of taking differences in such fears into account when designing global prize-based contests so that the potential of the contests for reaching solutions to important and challenging problems can be used more effectively.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Cass Business School > Faculty of Management
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/15327

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