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Journal Abstracts #36: January 28, 2002


Journal Name: Prometheus, Volume 16, Number 4, December 1998



Japanese Organizational Knowledge Creation in Anglo-American Environments
By Ikujiro Nonaka, Tim Ray and Katsuhiro Umemoto
Notwithstanding contemporary Western images of 'changing Japan,' expectations of lifetime employment within a remarkable stable population of leading firms continue to underpin a distinctive style of Japanese management based on high levels of inter-employee trust and extensive transactions in tacit knowledge. After reviewing some factors that distinguish Japan's national innovation system from its Anglo-American counterparts, we develop an 'inside the black box' model of Japanese organizational knowledge creation. This highlights some aspects of Japanese management which do not sit easily amidst Anglo-American organizational turbulence and predilections for explicit knowledge. The second part of our paper uses two case studies to explore factors limiting the 'tranferability' of Japanese management to Anglo and American innovation environments. These case studies illustrate differences between Japanese and Western systems, together with processes by which their respective advantages can combine to product synergic benefits.

A New Theory of Innovation?
By Steve Woolgar
Some problems in our understanding of innovation can be addressed by thinking of innovation as a social process. This can be done by using the idea of technology as applied social science. To explore this idea, an approach called 'technography' is introduced. Sources of resistance to innovation are considered and the question whether new technologies will make us more innovative is posed.

The Knowing Nation: A Framework for Public Policy in a Post-industrial Knowledge Economy
By David Rooney and Thomas Mandeville
As the global economy becomes more knowledge intensive and the wealth of nations more dependent on their knowledge assets being harnessed, it is essential for policy makers to have frameworks for the development and utilization of national knowledge assets. This article argues that a policy framework can be developed through which policy initiatives in a range of policy areas can be filtered in order to meet the challenges of the knowledge economy. We have developed an approach that has previously been applied to managing intellectual capital in firms and adapted it the public policy arena. In doing so we question policy orthodoxies such as the assumption that free trade automatically facilitates international knowledge flows, that participation in a global knowledge economy necessarily challenges national sovereignty, and that online delivery of education is necessarily a progressive strategy.

The Actual and Potential Use of Information Technology in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises
By Jan Stroeken and Jean Coumans
This paper is based on a recent report from the Dutch Council for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, in which an indictor is deduced for the present state of the application rather than the development of technology in the business sectors. The application of information technology is the prime concern. We shall demonstrate that much of the literature in the field of indicators concentrates on larger companies. In our set-up, the indicator can be tuned to the branch level, but it can be applied to all companies, including the smaller ones. The indictor then is tested in an SME-rich sector - the car dealer branch. In the final part of this paper, we take a closer look at the problems surrounding the diffusion and implementation of information technology in SMEs and close with some policy recommendations.

Asia-Pacific Telecommunications USOs: Current Practice and Future Options
By Gary Madden, Scott J. Savage, and Michael Simpson
Access to information is essential for efficient business operation and social empowerment. Many Asia-Pacific businesses are exposed to international markets while their corresponding information requirements are not well met. Restricted information technology and telecommunications access also diminishes the ability of remote regions to generate reliable income streams. In the Asia-Pacific, several national governments have recently reviewed the notion of telecommunications universal service obligations (USOs). This review considers the adequacy of the 'plain old telephone service' definition for an information society characterized by market liberalization, new technology, changing community needs, and an uncertain international environment. Several interim and proposed mechanisms for delivering USOs in the Asia-Pacific region are also discussed.

Resolving Conflict Between Cultural and Trade Policies: The Case of Australian Content on Television
By Franco Papandrea
The article examines the potential impact of a recent decision of the High Court of Australia on the effectiveness of Australian content regulation for television programmes. The High Court's decision requires non-discriminatory treatment of New Zealand television programmes in the Australian content regulation to prevent conflict with trading obligations between Australia and New Zealand. The analysis presented in the article finds that claims of serious implications for the effectiveness of the regulations are largely unfounded.

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