Prometheus: Vol 16, No 4 (1998)

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Japanese Organizational Knowledge Creation in Anglo-American Environments
Ikujiro Nonaka , Tim Ray & Katsuhiro Umemoto
Pages: 421-439


Notwithstanding contemporary Western images of ‘changing Japan’, expectations of lifetime employment within a remarkably 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 ‘transferability’ 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 produce synergic benefits.

A New Theory of Innovation?
Steve Woolgar
Pages: 441-452


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
David Rooney & Thomas Mandeville
Pages: 453-467


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 utilisation 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 to 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
Jan Stroeken & Jean Coumans
Pages: 469-483


This paper is based on a recent report from the Dutch Council for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, in which an indicator 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 indicator then is tested in an SME-rich sector—the car dealer branch. In the final part of this paper, we lake 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
Gary Madden , Scott J. Savage & Michael Simpson
Pages: 485-498


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 characterised by market liberalisation, 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
Franco Papandrea
Pages: 499-512


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.

Book review
The Econonllcs of Conununication and Infortnation Donald M. Lamberton (Ed.) Cheltenham, UK, Edward Elgar, 1996, xxviii+ 549 pp., £ 115, ISBN 1 85898 294 4
Richard D. Taylor
Pages: 513-517

Book review
Forbidden Fruit. An Analysis of Bootlegging, Uncertainty and Learning in Corporate R&D Peter Augsdorfer Aldershot, UK, Attebury, 1996, xi + 225 pp., UK £35.00, ISBN 1 85972 333 0
Stuart Macdonald
Pages: 517-519

Book review
Convergence: Integrating Media, Infonnation and Conununication Thomas F. Baldwin, D. Stevens McVoy and Charles Steinfield (Eds) Thousand Oaks, London and New Delhi, Sage, 1996, xviii + 430 pp., £40.00 (hbk), £17.99 (pbk), ISBN 0 8039 5904 4 (hbk) and ISBN 0 8039 5905 2 (pbk)
Andrew Tylecote
Pages: 519-520

Book review
Science, Technology and Society: An Introduction Martin Bridgstock, David Burch, John Forge, John Laurent and Ian Lowe Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1998, xii + 288 pp., AU$29.95, ISBN 0 521 58735 2
Kieron Flanagan
Pages: 520-523

Book review
Intelligent EnviroDIDents: Spatial Aspects of the InforIDation Revolution Peter Droege (Ed.) Amsterdam, North Holland, 1997, xviii + 727 pp., US$ 184.50, ISBN 0 444 82332 8
Brendan Gleeson
Pages: 523-524

Book review
COInputer Technology and Social Issues G. David Garson Harrisburg, USA, Idea Publishing Group, 1995, 444 pp., US$59.95, ISBN 1 87829 28 4
William Tibben
Pages: 525-527

Book review
IUlproving Nature? The Science and Ethics of Genetic Engineering Michael J. Reiss and Roger Straughan Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 1996, x + 288 pp., AU$39.25 h.b., ISBN 0 521 45441 7
John Laurent
Pages: 527-529

Book review
Climbing Mount Improbable Richard Dawkins Harmondsworth, UK, Viking, 1996, xi + 308 pP., $19.95 (Pb) ISBN 0 14 026302 0
Margaret Campbell
Pages: 529-532

Book review
From Stearn to Space : Contributions of Mechanical Engineering to Canadian Development Andrew H. Wilson, (Ed.) Ottawa, Canada, Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering, 1996, xi + 427 pp., CAN $25.00, ISBN 0 9680915 0 4
R. H. Stillman
Pages: 532-534

Book review
The Sources of Economic Growth Richard R. Nelson Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1996, vi + 328 pp., US$39.95, ISM 0 674 82145 9
Hans-Jürgen Engelbrecht
Pages: 535-537

Book review
Knowledge, Technology Transfer and Foresight Annamária Inzelt and Reinhard Coenen (Eds) Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1996, xvii + 250 pp., US$J49.00, ISBN 0 792 34274 7
Dora Marinova
Pages: 537-541

Book review
Technology, Open Learning and Distance Education A. W. (Tony) Bates London and New York, Routledge, 1995, vii + 266 pp., AU$45.00 (pbk), ISBN 0 415 11682 1 (hbk), ISBN 0 415 12799 8 (pbk)
Graham Wagner
Pages: 541-545

Book review
Civilizing Cyberspace: Policy, Power and the Information Superhighway Steven E. Miller New York, ACM Press, 1996, xvii + 411 pp., AU$46.95, ISBN 0 201 84760 4
Ashraf Patel
Pages: 545-547

Book review
Electronic Mail Jacob Palme Boston, Artech House, 1995, vii + 267 pp., US$71.00 (hbk), ISBN 0 89006 802 X
David Rooney
Pages: 548-550

Shorter Notice
H. J. Engelbrecht
Page: 551