Journal Name: Prometheus, Volume 5, Number 2, December 1987
Examining the Implications of Changing Information and Communication Structures: the UK PICT
by William H. Melody
The convergence of rapidly improving computer and telecommunication technologies is having a profound impact upon almost all social institutions. The characteristics of information gathering, storage, processing and dissemination affect the nature of markets and the structure of industry, as well as the competitiveness of firms and the prosperity of regions. They affect the internal structure of organizations including corporations, government agencies, political parties, and social groups. They affect the formation and distribution of social and cultural networks, the characteristics of work and education, the content of the mass media, and the information environment through which public information markets and examines the power of the information assumptions. The needed research must be directed toward assessing the long-term implications of institutional change. The UK programme on Information and Communication Technologies (PICT) is described and its progress reported.
Information, economies, information and communication technologies, UK PICT
Defining High Technology Industry: A Consensus Approach
by Chris Thompson
Reasons are suggested for care over the definition of high technology industry. Some general approaches to definition are outlined, an a chronology of definitions is presented. Conceptual and practical problems with conventional choices are discussed, and a new consensus definition - drawn from a survey of current practice in the USA - is suggested as a complement to objective definitions. This is used to speculate upon high tech・s potential role in the overall US employment problem.
high technology, state programs, industrial policy, employment projections
Banking Industry Employees and Technological Change
by Norman F. Dufty, Lawson K. Savery and geoffrey N. Soutar
The introduction of new technology has been of concern to banking unions but the chances of them effectively influencing such decisions are determined by the importance attached to the issue by members and their willingness to undertake industrial action. This paper reports a study which attempted to examine this issue by investigating union members' experiences with various types of new technology, their attitudes towards those technologies and various aspects of their work lives and also their willingness to undertake industrial action over the introduction of new technology into their workplace.
Australian baking, technological change, Australian Bank Employees' Union, discriminant analysis
Government Expenditure on IVF Programs: An Exploratory Study
by Ditta Bartels
The technology of IVF not only presents society with a range of social and ethical difficulties, but also consumes vast resources from the "public purse." This paper provides an estimate of recent government expenditure on IVF programs and argues that the $32 million figure arrived at it far short of the actual sums involved. Pregnancy rates are also examined, and the conclusion is reached that on average 34 treatment cycles are required to produce one pregnancy which results in the birth of a baby that is not premature, defective or death at birth.
IVF, reproductive technology, government funding, public costs
Industry Protection Plans: Australian Footwear Maufacturers' Reactions
by Mary M. Greenwell
Australian footwear manufacturers were surveyed in late 1986 in order to identify actions undertaken since 1981 in response to the anticipated or actual increase in import competition as a result of the first seven year protection plan. A wide range of actions were undertaken, with capital investment in new production technology the most frequent and "most important" action. This research indicates that the plan created organisational change which in turn promoted more efficient and effective business practices.
protection, industry plans, organisational change, technological change, capital investment
Technology Development: The Continuing Story in Canada
by Andrew H. Wilson
Just over three years ago, in June 1984, the government of Canada received the report of its task force on federal policies and programs for technology development (the Wright report). Three months later, this (Liberal) government was defeated in a general election. In its election platform, and during its first months in office, the new (Progressive Conservative) government appeared to favor the kinds of measures and approaches recommended by the Wright and his colleagues. Since then the picture has been somewhat confused. On the one hand, there have been changes in policy, budget cuts and some reorganisation affecting federal science departments and agencies. On the other, there have been more programme studies, some programme changes, and increasing emphasis placed on the participation of the private sector in co-operative R& D. This paper looks back to the recommendations of the Wright report and concludes that the report was timely, that it had a positive influence on some of the new government's actions, but, like other similar reports, its impact was diminished by events. The paper also concludes that the Wright report's main thrust - the improved management of federal activities in technology development - has been set back by budget and other cuts and changes.
technology policy, technology development, Canada
Educating, Manufacturing, Exporting
by Graham G. Spurling
Export of manufactured goods will play a large role in the economic future of Australia, and manufacturing will be closely linked (in markets and investment) with the Pacific rim countries. Strategies for development are proposed, recognising the need for improvement in cultural outlook, technological credibility, research and development, and education and skill development at all levels.
Education, export, foreign investment, manufacturing, product development, productivity
Research and Development in Australia: the Role of Multinational Corporations
by Donald R Lewis and John Mangan
Limited expenditure on R & D has received inadequate attention as an explanation of Australia's poor economic performance. This paper compares the level and composition of R & D expenditure in Australia with those of other countries. Some reasons for Australian's low level of R & D are explored and the policy implications of the analysis are investigated.
science and technology, R & D, multinational corporations, venture capital, innovation, technology transfer, protection
Teleconferencing in Modern Enterprises
by M. A. Alemson
Teleconferencing makes possible the communication of persons or groups at tow or more different locations. If all participants are present simultaneously, it is classed as synchronous. In contrast, asynchronous teleconferencing offers store-and-forward options, and enables meetings to extend over time. Teleconferencing is viewed within the wider framework of its integration with associated forms of electronic technology, in particular, the "Decision Conference" and consideration is given to the challenge this poses to a firm. Does its successful implementation require major re-structuring of the firm's existing organization? Are the synergic benefits gained by the new technologies influential in serving to integrate formerly discrete functions?
teleconferencing, decision conference, computer supported conference rooms, firms, business management
Turning Data into Wisdom: Who Decides?
by John Peet and Katherine Peet
The introduction of new technologies is associated with a major change employment in society, from the traditional agricultural and manufacturing sectors, to the service sector. The availability of more and better services will, according to some analysts, generate wealth that will absorb the surplus labour made available from the traditional sectors. We believe this will be at best a short-term phenomenon. In the longer term, many service sector jobs will be taken over by computer-based systems. In addition, for most people employment also provides security, a pattern for their day, social relationships, a place to belong, and the opportunity to be involved in learning. These will be difficulty to achieve in the newer jobs, and much more difficult for the jobless or those in short-term employment. It is critical that the meaning of "work" in society be reexamined. Under a regime in which "hard" technological systems are programmed to treat society as a collection of individuals, we see the need to develop social, political and economic decision-making tools from the "soft" systems viewpoint. These are not predictable from the sum of individual properties; they are properties of the system, and of the system alone. We also discuss analogies between societies and nonequilibrium thermodynamic systems, which we believe can be helpful when looking at questions involving invention of futures.
new technologies, work, employment, education, futures, systems
(This journal is available online: http://www.tandf.co.uk/online.html)
Posted with permission from the publisher.