The organization of technology in advanced industrial society: A hypothesis on technical systems

Wesley Shrum, Robert Wuthnow, James Beniger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Technical systems—large—scale, centrally coordinated technological enterprises—have emerged as a new mode of technological organization in advanced industrial societies. Recent scholarship points to the existence of two primary types of system based on whether the technology under development involves “collective” or “private” goods. It is hypothesized that these types differ in network structure and in the determinants of technical innovation. A pattern of administrative hegemony should characterize technical systems which are organized to provide collective goods. Data from a national survey of 297 individuals involved in nuclear waste and solar cell research provide support for the hypothesis. One implication is that an exchange of resources for targeted contributions may be a more realistic model of research behavior in some technical systems than the exchange of productivity for recognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-63
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Forces
Volume64
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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