New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 7: Global R & D Networks and ICT: What Impacts on Firms?
7. Global R&D networks and ICT: what impacts on firms? Denis Carré, Gilliane Lefebvre, Bernadette Madeuf and Christian Milelli 1. INTRODUCTION Economic globalization involves changes in the organization of large firms expanding their activities worldwide. Considering the technostructure as the core of the decision-making process and ‘organized intelligence’, as J.K. Galbraith calls it, global strategies and organization are necessarily changing it. In this perspective one of the main issues is to consider how the technostructure that consists in the pooling of various specialized skills is able to cope with the dispersion of such skills in different economies. The development of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) may be seen as a means to reconcile the proximity required by some tasks, such as the creation of innovative products and processes or the collective decision-making process at the core of the technostructure, with the implementation of global strategies. But insofar as ICTs facilitate the global functioning of a spatially dispersed technostructure, their use may bring about another concern related to the ‘organic solidarity’ among the members of the global and complex technostructure. (This issue will be dealt with in Chapter 8). In order to shed light on this issue of the changing global technostructure, this chapter covers one particular dimension which is the impact of ICTs on the location and organization of the research-and-development (R&D) activities of global firms worldwide. The choice of analysing R&D activities is based on their specificity: first, R&D activities are genuinely associated with...
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