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AUSTRALIA’S INFORMATION LANDSCAPES
P. W. Newton
New technologies and the infrastructure and industries that develop around them have continuously shaped and re-shaped physical and cultural landscapes throughout history. While the antecedents of the information and communications revolution can be traced back beyond the twentieth century, the major burst of telematic products and services and their supporting infrastructures has occurred over the past quarter century. Furthermore, this development is accelerating. The manner in which information and communications technologies are re-shaping patterns of urban settlement is as yet not clear, however. The present paper identifies some emerging trends in the Australian context.
ECONOMIC LIBERALIZATION: OPENNESS AND INTEGRATION — BUT WHAT KIND?
Edith T. Penrose
In advanced industrial economies… managerial hierarchies have gained an increasing advantage over market mechanisms or multilateral negotiations in coordinating the flow of goods, monitoring economic activities, and allocating resources… By the time the United States entered World War I management decisions had replaced coordination by market forces in many of the most critical sectors of the economy. The result might be termed managerial capitalism. (Chandler and Daems, 1980: 5, 6)
… the decision-taking nexus of the MNE in the late 1980s has come to resemble the central nervousd system of a much larger group of interdependent but less formally governed activities, whose function is primarily to advance the global competitive strategy and position of the core organization …
There are several implications of the new style MNEs… First they cause us to reappraise our thinking about the nature, function and boundaries of firms and markets… Second, they cast doubt on the usefulness of some of our existing classifications of our economic activities and of our traditional concepts of competition. Third, they have profoundly affected the pattern and ownership of international economic activity and the political economy of the countries which are party to it. (Dunning, 1988a: 327, 328)
The first element of a successful industrial policy is the creative use and shaping of the market. Industrial policy fails when it overrides or ignores the market and is based upon the presumption that plans and markets are alternative means of economic coordination … The market, it has been said, is a good servant, but a bad master… effective policy towards industry depends on breaking with the plan or market dichotomy that informs conventional economic theory and is taken for granted by policy makers guided by that theory. (Best, 1990: 20)
TELEWORK: ISSUES FOR NEW ZEALAND
Penelope Schoeffel , Alison Loveridge & Carl Davidson
This paper reviews international trends and associated issues of telework (work that is performed remote from clients or employers assisted by electronic communication facilities). It examines whether telework in New Zealand is following reported trends and concludes that the forces driving telework in New Zealand are different from those elsewhere, for structural reasons which are described. The results of a small survey of New Zealand teleworkers suggest that the growth of teleworking in New Zealand is among professional and technical workers with scarce skills or in small innovative home-based businesses. The implications of these findings for New Zealand’s future development are discussed.
HIGH TECHNOLOGY AND FLEXIBLE AUTOMATION
Angel Martinez Sanchez
Data from Australian manufacturing industries show that high technology industries are more intensively automated that other manufacturing industries and that the technological level and product complexity of an industry are the best explanatory variables for automation intensity. The empirical evidence shows the need to modify some of the assumptions of the Utterback and Abernathy model of the innovation life cycle.
JAPAN’S MOVE UP THE TECHNOLOGY ‘FOOD CHAIN’
Japan is about to overtake the US to become No.1 in information technology, the key technology of our era. Starting four decades ago with transistor radios and televisions, the Japanese had by the 1970s come to dominate most areas of consumer electronics. In the 1980s, Japanese companies targeted and swiftly captured leadership of the critically important semiconductor industry. Along the way, the Japanese have gained a stranglehold over key areas of advanced manufacturing technology; they have come to reign supreme in modern office equipment such as faxes and photocopiers; and they have even become No.1 in the huge global telecommunications equipment market.
In computers and software per se, Japanese companies have been steadily moving up the so-called technology “food chain”, quietly building market share in laptop computers, workstations, mainframe computers and supercomputers, and carefully targeting next-generation computing technologies. In this process, they are being aided by fundamental economic and technology trends in the IT industry.
COMMERCIALIZATION OF SCHOLARSHIP IN AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES
Larry L. Leslie & Ross I. Harrold
In their search for greater financial independence, Australian universities are encouraging academics to commercialize the application of their knowledge and research skills. While these commercialized scholarship (COS) activities generate significant direct financial returns, they also impact indirectly upon the mainstream activities of university life. There has been little research into these indirect effects on university teaching, research and service.
This article reports a survey of academic and administrative staff of two Australian universities which compared direct and indirect costs and benefits of academics’ COS activities. A novel evaluation technique was employed to assess the extent to which interviewed staff believed that the indirect benefits of COS (such as closer relations with external bodies, prestige and spin-off effects on teaching and research) were in aggregate more significant than the direct financial effects. The technique was also used to assess indirect costs of COS, such as time lost to basic research, and the time and other university facilities consumed for which there is incomplete reimbursement. An aggregation of these indirect and direct benefits and costs suggested that COS projects could be more favourable to universities than a narrow financial analysis would suggest.