STIS Seminar PhD Session

Speaker: Dr Valeri Wiegel # University of Edinburgh; Speaker: Tair Mukhamadiyev # University of Edinburgh

14th Nov 2016

15:30 - 17:00

Crystal MacMillan Building, Staff Room, 6th Floor

Dr Valeri Wiegel: The biography of an innovation: an ecological analysis of a strategic technology project in the auto-industry

How does a technological development survive over an extended period of time in a volatile environment? How can we examine and theorise a discontinuous innovation journey? Pursuing these questions my work seeks a more nuanced and comprehensive understanding of the contextually-shaped, often highly contingent processes of technological innovation. An in-depth longitudinal case study was conducted of the development, implementation and adoption of a strategic information system - a network planning tool in a German car company. A mixed repository of historical and ethnographic data collected afforded a detailed focus on a twelve-year period contextualised by a historical narrative of corporate developments over three decades. Building upon the  ‘Biographies of Artefacts and Practices’ perspective (Pollock and Williams 2009; Hyysalo, 2010) which addresses the complexity of innovation across multiple sites, moments and time frames, the study advances theorisation of technology as a configurational product of an evolutionary process in which contextual contingencies are built in at different episodes of implementation (Fleck, 1988). It extends and tests the applicability of the ‘biographical’ perspective to a different form of innovation (a project within a firm) to understand the detailed dynamics and the influence of configurational politics (Sahay et al., 2009). Drawing upon the Social Shaping of Technology and Social Learning perspectives the conceptual framework encompasses both detailed understanding of micro-level developments and longer-term. It thus provides a vantage point for advancing an ecological understanding of technological change.

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Tair Mukhamadiyev: Impact of Accession to the WTO on Performance of National Systems of Innovation of Transition Economies

In December 2015, after 19 years of negotiations Kazakhstan has joined the World Trade Organization. Obtainment of membership status in the organization have symbolised completion of long-lasting legal, economic and political reforms and became a major milestone in Kazakhstan’s government plans to build innovation-based economy. According to conventional wisdom, accession to the WTO should have boosted inflow of foreign investments, thereby increasing competitiveness of domestic firms through technology spillovers. In this presentation I will review whether Kazakhstan’s natural resources, size of domestic market and absorption capacity of indigenous firms allowed to benefit from membership in the organization. Along the way, I will examine how Kazakhstan’s transition from planned to a market economy influenced technology progress. In theory, transformation of the economy into more market-based should have allowed the government to illuminate major systemic problems inherited from Soviet era. Therefore, presentation will also focus on efficiency of recent governmental policies and major barriers for state intervention. 

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