Changing corporate strategies in a period of crisis : high technology multinational corporations in Scotland
The dissertation proposes that the economics of the crisis of capital accumulation and the extraordinary pace of technological and market change have led to new corporate strategies and industry structures in the high tech electronics industry. The research, survey of management in fourteen leading computer and semiconductor multinationals, was designed to integrate and explore the usefulness of theories on industrial structure and labour markets. The product life cycle model cannot solve the problems of diversified and increasingly competitive global markets and their ever more sophisticated demand for customised products. Similarly rigid barriers between differentiated and non-competing labour markets in dual labour market theory cannot account for new associations of labour and technologies or for the new importance of non-wage differences in global labour supplies. The research demonstrated the necessity of linking both demand and supply conditions in explaining contemporary industrial structure. The data persuasively supports the view that the supply conditions in local labour markets not only are critical to the global distribution of capital, but more importantly shape those investments. Scotland provided the industry with an annual labour supply and appropriate skills and a training/education sector responsive to industry needs, offering unique ways for corporations to minimise the cost of reshaping and retaining their workforce. Combining with significant state support of capital investment, the region provided cost - and risk-minimising opportunities for using expensive advanced technologies, expanding and extending their effectiveness in rapidly changing markets. Further, gender was a major factor in the emergence structure of work and the speed of industry adjustment. Rising male unemployment, shrinking employment vacancies for men, and the support of the region's women worker led to the industry's hiring men as the new production workforce, allowing new job design, recruitment criteria, employment expectations and worker commitment, necessary to increase the productivity of new investments.