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Title: Do ICTs Matter? : the diffusion of information and communication technologies in Wales, the Republic of Ireland and the South East of England.
Author: Holbrook, Beverley.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3580 1631
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1993
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This thesis examines the diffusion of infonnation and communication technologies (lCTs) in Wales, the Republic of Ireland and the South East of England in the computer service and electronics sectors. The study is significant as it contributes to academic and policy debates concerning the role of leTs in regional development. The European Community has invested considerable resources in the early introduction of advanced telecommunication services in the peripheral regions through the STAR (Special Telecommunications Action for Regional Development) and Telematique programmes. leTs are emphasised in the academic literature either as elements of infrastructure provision or, more significantly, as being integral to radical changes in organisations and regions. The research examines diffusion of ICTs in the three regions in order to assess the role of ICT in the regional development processes in the electronics and computer service sectors and to investigate the types of organisational and regional changes that are occurring through the applications of ICTs. The Republic of Ireland, Wales and the South East of England were chosen for study as they offered a basis for comparison of the use of ICTs by finns in core, peripheral and semi-peripheral regions. Research methods included a large scale survey in the three regions and in-depth interviews with a number of selected finns. The research focused on both indigenous finns and inward investing finns The survey results provide an indication of the degree of diffusion of particular components of ICTs in the three regions. The analysis also examines the types of finns in the electronics and computer service sector and demonstrates differences in the use of leTs between inward investing, multi-site finns and indigenous firms. The in-depth interviews provides further basis for exploration of the results from the survey but concentrate mainly on the assessment of the organisational and regional implications of the diffusion of ICTs. The main conclusions of the thesis are that leTs, in general, are of less importance in the process of organisational change and regional development than has been claimed by theories which argue that the diffusion of ICTs creates a basis for radical change in these areas. The results show that the diffusion of ICTs is unbalanced across regions and finn sizes. Furthennore, the use of computer networks by SMEs does not appear to be a central factor for their economic viability and the provision of infrastructure and services is not of central importance in Iocational decisions of large firms. The results suggest that other factors apart from the use of ICTs should be given more importance in explanations of patterns of regional development and regional policy-makers should give more weight to these matters. These factors include research on the impacts and extent of take-overs in different regions, and factors which encourage the emergence and sustained growth of indigenous firms and the increased embeddedness of inward investing finns.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Urban planning & rural planning Regional planning Information science Communication