Technology and Social Process

By Brian Elliott | Go to book overview

SIX: MARTIN FRANSMAN
THE JAPANESE SYSTEM AND THE ACQUISITION, ASSIMILATION AND FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGICAL KNOWLEDGE: ORGANISATIONAL FORM, MARKETS, AND GOVERNMENT

Long-term growth of both firms and countries depends in large part on the acquisition, assimilation, and further development of technological knowledge. However, we presently lack a detailed understanding of these important processes of technological change. The result is that, despite many arguments and hypotheses, we still do not have a rigorous explanation of, for example, Japan's success in catching up, and in some cases overtaking, and Britain's increasing tendency to fall behind.

The main argument of the present chapter is that, in order to throw more light on the acquisition, assimiliation and further development of technological knowledge, a systematic approach is required that goes beyond the analysis of the individual organisation. The necessity for a systemic approach follows from the fact that technology itself is increasingly complex and its use and development involves interaction between organisations -- firms, banks, universities, government departments and research institutions. A systemic approach is necessary in order to capture these interactions. This requires integrating the analysis of technological change at the following levels. First, at the level of the individual organisation, examining the relationship between the form of organisation and the process of technological change. Secondly, taking account of the interactions between organisations. These include both competitive as well as co-operative interactions between the kinds of organisations mentioned. The analysis of the

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