Prometheus: Vol 24, No 3 (2006)

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Battle of Systems: Learning from Erstwhile Gas–Electricity and Telegraph–Telephone Battles
Harmeet Sawhney & Xiaofei Wang
Pages: 235-256


This paper seeks to understand how the possibility of a complementary relationship or its lack impacts dynamics of competition between two competing network technologies. It examines the cases of gas–electricity and telegraph–telephone competition. The two case studies suggest that the degree of complementarity greatly shapes the dynamics of competition between an entrenched network technology and a new competitor. When there is little scope for a complementary relationship, as in the case of the gas–electricity battle, the strategists for the new technology have to subvert the old system and build a new one on its ashes since there is little chance of coexistence. On the other hand, the possibility of a complementary relationship, as in the case of the telegraph–telephone battle, allows for the emergence of complex situations marked by coexistence interwoven with competition. These compromise positions, invariably involving re‐negotiation of boundaries, are tempting resting spots for battle weary contestants. As the relationship between the old and the new system evolves, the nature of the complementary relationship changes, especially in the relative power of the two systems, and even if eventually the old system fades away the process is a long and gradual one.

Engineering Organization and the Scientist in World War I: The Search for National Service and Recognition
Carroll Pursell
Pages: 257-268


When the United States entered World War I in 1917, there was no elaborate framework for providing scientific advice to the government. Engineers and scientists struggled to find an appropriate mechanism, but the former found themselves subordinated to a scientific community which sought to dominate emerging structures. At stake was not merely the credit for helping win the war, but also an advantage in the coming postwar definition and expansion of industrial research. Scientific leaders sought advantage by making a distinction between ‘engineering research’ and engineering practice, and claiming jurisdiction over the former.

Changing Science: The Advent of Neo‐liberalism
Maria Nedeva & Rebecca Boden
Pages: 269-281


This paper provides a detailed analysis of the change process of academic science. The change pressures currently visible in UK science have been conceptualised as the product of three interdependent dynamics: a shift towards neo‐liberal ideologies and discourses of government; a process of reconstitution of the relationship between government and science; and the resulting reshaping of science itself. Focusing on the universities and academic science, we argue that this process of transformation has adverse consequences the end result of which may be a loss of capacity within the science system to maintain knowledge bases.

Beyond Knowledge to Wisdom in International Business Strategy
Bernard McKenna , David Rooney & Peter W. Liesch
Pages: 283-300


A wisdom approach is advanced as a means of breaking the mimesis of institutional isomorphism that is observed both in the practice and scholarship of orthodox business management. Nine principles of wisdom derived from the Aristotelian tradition and contemporary psychological research are provided. These are then tested in an international business case study. This analysis supports the case that, while rational judgment is necessary, wise management also requires a capacity for counter‐intuition, vision, and humanity. It also shows that wisdom in management must ultimately be practical. When practised by wise managers, such wisdom can opportunistically circumvent the discursive limitations imposed by current orthodoxy in the turbulent, ephemeral conditions of international business and its management.

Media Diversity and Cross‐Media Regulation
Franco Papandrea
Pages: 301-322


Proposed changes to the Australian cross‐media regulation prohibiting common ownership of commercial free‐to‐air television and radio services and daily newspapers in the same market and their likely impact on diversity of opinion are evaluated in this paper. The analysis indicates that the replacement of the cross‐media rules with a minimum number of voices rule will lead to increased concentration of main media and reduced diversity. There is little evidence that the Internet and other new media are significantly displacing traditional media as independent sources of opinion in the domestic market. Also, the proposed number of voices rule is assessed as a largely ineffective and inefficient regulation. Consequently, the paper concludes that while abolition of the cross‐media rules might be an appropriate objective in the longer term, the proposed changes are likely to have undesirable effects on diversity of opinion in the immediate future.

Sectoral Transformation in the Photovoltaics Industry in Australia, Germany and Japan: Contrasting the Co‐evolution of Actors, Knowledge, Institutions and Markets
Antonio Balaguer & Dora Marinova
Pages: 323-339


This paper studies the evolution of the photovoltaics industry in Australia, Germany and Japan taking a comparative perspective. A modification of the sectoral innovation system framework is used to discuss: knowledge and technologies, actors and interactions, institutions and funding, development of markets and technological structure, as a way to understand the changes. In the process of transition from niche to mass production, national players have specialised in different activities, and the institutions’ building block has been a key determinant. In the case of Australia, it is also the least developed area which ultimately exposes the country to losing its innovation benefits.

Review Article
Resistance is Futile—The Future and Post‐humanity
Craig S. Webster
Pages: 341-348

Book Reviews
Pages: 349-355

Contributors to this Issue
Page: 357