Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Structuring 'Special Technology Infrastructures' (STIs): A Conceptual Proposition

Academic journal article South Asian Journal of Management

Structuring 'Special Technology Infrastructures' (STIs): A Conceptual Proposition

Article excerpt

Today, 'special technology infrastructure' (STI) represents a new process of economic development and has been used as a tool of regional development. It is a region that generates sustained and propulsive economic activity through the creation and commercialization of new knowledge. In the developed world, the term 'STI' is used in various farms such as 'science and technology park' and 'technopole' in Europe, 'research park' in the United States and Canada. In the process of facilitating competitive technological progress and thus reforming their underdeveloped farm of economies, the East Asian governments used a similar concept in the name of 'industrial parks' in their region and extracted most economic benefits. In resemblance of this pattern, the underdeveloped economies (UDES), such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Fiji, have also been trying to use Export Processing Zone (EPZ) strategy to overcome many of their growth obstacles such as lacking of FDI, inability of improvising foreign technology and diversifying product structure to higher value-addition, inadequate capability of technological leapfrogging and technological catching up with the world leaders, etc. As a whole, all these synonymous uses of the STI term often exacerbate the studies on the nature, background and conceptual evolution of STIs. In serious consideration of this fact, this study attempted to make an extensive cross-sectionalstudy of the existing STI-models and formulate a uniform theoretical outlining of the concept of 'special technology infrastructure' (STI) so that all these synonymous terms of STI can be used distinctly in literature and while fixing any empirical strategy as well. In doing so, this study raised a variety of questions related to the origin and nature of existing STIs to minimize the ongoing confusions. This study, in this connection, can claim to appear as a unique and timely step to solve a critical issue related to technology and its progress.

INTRODUCTION

In the 37th Bangladesh Studies Conference (January 4-6, 2005), Ahmed and Sharif (2005) made an in-depth discussion on the operational aspects of the world EPZs and ended with two alternative strategies for the UDEs. One strategy is to go beyond employing merely low-skilled workers and generating exports and the other is to remain happy with these short-run benefits from an EPZ. In practice, a clear division in the format of EPZs is found between the UDEs running traditional EPZ-projects (as in Cameroon, Colombia, Ghana, Madagascar, Syria and Jordan) and the East Asia, the erstwhile UDEs, promoting transitional EPZs [as in Taiwan]. This division may, therefore, raise a very rational question of, "what makes the difference between Industrial Parks (i.e., EPZs) of Cameroon and that of Taiwan?"

Ahmed and Sharif [2005] has clearly highlighted that UDEs have been able to acquire the short-term objectives [measured in terms of benefits], but failed to attain some important long-run benefits from technology transfer activities. In this background as well as in light of the changing world scenario, the chapter emphasized the necessity of restructuring the traditional EPZs. Apart from EPZs, one of the most important features of geographic restructuring has been the emergence of the technopolis, [ie., Technology Park[TP], fast-growing agglomerations of high technology. Technopolis is a region that generates sustained and propulsive economic activity through the creation and commercialization of new knowledge [Preer, 1992]. The terms "science park" and "technopole" are used most commonly in Europe, while the term "research park" is preferred in the United States and Canada [Drescher, 1998]. Therefore, while planning for restructuring of traditional EPZs, it becomes important to check, "whether the very concept of technopolis has emerged from an EPZ origin?"

Today, the technopolis represents a new process of economic development and has been used as a tool of regional development. …

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