Managing Technological Development

Managing Technological Development

Managing Technological Development

Managing Technological Development

Synopsis

Linking debates in sociology and ecology to management and economics, this book addresses the problem of identifying and developing environmentally-friendly technology.

Excerpt

Working on a book that deals with all the problems companies face during technological development often triggers a smile of recognition. Whether you are running a technical development project or a research project, a certain mix of stubbornness and an interest in experimenting with new combinations seems to be a necessary attribute. This helps us cope with all the - often tightly interwoven - technical, social and financial issues that characterise such enterprises.

One of the most challenging technical issues in a research project is how to create a satisfactory empirical basis. in this case we were favoured by the great generosity of our interviewees. An empirical basis of about 120 interviews shows that over a hundred people agreed at least once, and sometimes several times, to put aside their work for a few hours to answer questions asked by researchers. Furthermore, even at the first contact it became obvious that these interviews did not all aim to illuminate the most flattering sides of the respondents and their organisations. Rather, the meetings were booked with the aim of discussing issues that were both complex and fraught with conflicts. Yet still we were met by a great willingness to contribute, whether the respondents represented companies, governmental or non-governmental organisations.

Though we owe a great debt of gratitude to all these people, who spent hours struggling with our questions, searching in internal archives, introducing us to their colleagues, etc., at least two people deserve special mention: Alf de Ruvo, deceased vice president of sca, who welcomed us to use sca (Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget) as a focal point of reference - including using all kinds of internal archives and interviewing people throughout the company. Although Alf de Ruvo was known as a very creative and outspoken person, it was rather surprising to hear his comments on the manuscript, which revealed a company that was sometimes at a loss for how to manage certain issues: ‘The written language always simplifies. in reality it was even worse.’ Another open-minded person, who like de Ruvo introduced us to important industrial and non-govern-mental organisations, is Hans Hildorsson, manager of IKEA’s catalogue production. Besides these two, many people from the industry have contributed in many different ways, not only by responding to our questions, but also by checking technical descriptions. Professor Emeritus Börje Steenberg of the Royal

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