Prometheus: Vol 20, No 2 (2002)

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Following Successfully: Followership and Technology Adoption
Peter Hall & Iain L. Densten
Pages: 87-105


Most firms in most countries find themselves taking up new technology in the wake of pioneers or first-movers. A central question is how (and whether) such firms can make a success of being followers–in the time-related sense of adopting subsequently. We take a novel approach to this question by drawing on the literature of leadership and followership within organisations. This literature employs characteristics in two dimensions to build a taxonomy of types of follower–in the hierarchical sense of working for and with an organisational superior. Using this approach, we generate hypotheses about the sorts of firms which are likely to prove more or less successful as early and later technology adopters. From the analysis, we are also able to identify ways in which the emerging followership literature requires strengthening.

The Internet and the Consumer: Countervailing Power Revisited
Jong-Youn Rha & Richard Widdows
Pages: 107-118


The Internet is a tool with the potential to enable consumers to effectively participate in collective bargaining in the marketplace. The purpose of this paper is to address the viability of the concept of countervailing power in the Internet era. First, some theoretical perspectives on how on-line consumer networks have the potential to be a new source of countervailing power are introduced. Next, the potential for consumer countervailing power in the Internet era is discussed. A case study that illustrates the viability of the propositions is then presented. Finally, implications and limitations of the paper are briefly discussed: if the potential for countervailing power can be established, then the circumstances under which collective bargaining would occur and the determinants of its outcome would be of vital interest to consumer economists and policy makers.

Raising the Standard of Management Education for Electronic Commerce Professionals
Richard Joseph
Pages: 119-129


The teaching of electronic commerce in universities has become a growth industry in itself. The rapid expansion of electronic commerce programmes raises the question of what actually is being taught. The association of electronic commerce as primarily a technical or information technology (IT) phenomenon has not been sufficient to constrain it to IT and information systems departments. Business schools have been keen entrants into the electronic commerce coursework race and they are developing electronic commerce programmes in an environment where there is no agreed definition of the term. This paper draws on the work of Kenneth Boulding who argued that the dynamics of change in society are largely a product of changing skills and the way these skills are arranged into roles at the organizational level. It is argued that an overly technical interpretation of electronic commerce narrows the skills being acquired as part of formal education. Universities, under pressure from the market and technological change, are changing their roles resulting in a further narrowing of the breadth of issues that is seen as legitimate to be included as electronic commerce. The outcome is that aspiring electronic commerce professionals are not being exposed to a wide enough agenda of ideas and concepts that will assist them to make better business decisions.

A Failure of Intelligence
Mary Sandow-Quirk
Pages: 131-142


Recent events have made the inadequacies of intelligence services in even the most powerful countries glaringly obvious and various causes for these failures have been canvassed. Many of these problems have arisen from a limited understanding of the complexities of each phase of the intelligence cycle as illustrated by cases drawn from a variety of intelligence contexts.

Australian University-Industry Research Links: Researcher Involvement, Outputs, Personal Benefits and ‘Withholding’ Behaviour
Grant Harman
Pages: 143-158


Using data from two surveys of science and technology academics in major Australian research universities, an assessment is made of researcher involvement in industry-research partnerships, the outputs and personal benefits that result, and the occurrence of delaying publications and withholding data and materials from colleagues. An estimated 40% of academics currently have industry research funding, with many also having other sources of funding. Some 60% of respondents with industry funding have attracted individually, or within a research group, funding of more than $250,000 over the past three years. About 35% of principal investigators with industry funding have total annual research budgets of over $101,000. While about 20% of academics have produced research results of commercial value, most of these have been less successful in increasing their personal incomes through research commercialisation and consulting, and equity in companies. Almost 40% with industry funding report having conducted research where the results are the property of a sponsor and cannot be published for a period without consent. Almost 20% of academics in 1997 and just over 20% in 2000 admitted having delayed publications for more than six months. However, safeguarding the researcher’s self-interest appears to be as common a motive for delaying publication or failing to share research results or materials with scientific colleagues as protecting the property of a sponsor.

The Venetian Moment: New Technologies, Legal Innovation and the Institutional Origins of Intellectual Property
Christopher May
Pages: 159-179


The role of the Venetian republic in the history of intellectual property is not well known although the innovations which were later codified into law by the British Crown, and which are usually regarded as heralding the age of intellectual property, were first developed a century before in Venice. This article explores these precursors to the more commonplace understanding of the origins of intellectual property law, and draws some parallels between the current debates about property in knowledge and the time of its first formal emergence some 500 years ago.

Book reviews
Pages: 181-192

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 193