• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

This book analyzes a range of social contexts in which human decisions shape technology in the market economy. It comprises a critical review of both a select research literature and in-depth historical studies. Material is drawn from many social science disciplines to inform the reader of the reality of taking decisions on innovation.

Innovation and the Organisation of Technical Expertise and Work
Innovation and the organisation of technical expertise and work

Much popular and guru-management writing is built around the claim to possess knowledge of best practice and in addition assumes that this knowledge can be passed on through written text to the reader. The empirical evidence that a practice is ‘best’ is often no more than the coincidence between a firm's good financial performance and its possession of unusual practice. Nevertheless, this kind of analysis may be all that is possible when information is limited – as it was in the years of emerging awareness that Japanese quality practices were distinctive.

So this chapter begins by taking the process by which one set of techniques become established as superior ...

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