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Title: The effects of ICT on the UK book publishing industry
Author: Lawson, Alison
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2006
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Background The study considers the impact of technology as a force for change in the UK book publishing industry since the 1980s, examining the effects on systems, processes and products, roles, tasks and skills, and organisational structures. The industry is wide and diverse, dominated by a few major players, and may be split into those that are corporate and those that are independent. Purpose The purpose of the study is to demonstrate the considerable changes ICT has enabled and initiated on one of the UK's most significant and least researched industries. The results of the research will be on interest and practical use to managers in the industry. Sample A review of the literature concerning technological change in the workplace, and of the publishing industry in particular, is supported by the results of interviews conducted with six case-study publishers - three independent and three corporate, covering several sectors of the industry. The interviewees' roles covered editorial, production, marketing and sales functions. Design and method Following the literature review and an initial scoping discussion with a publishing employee with more than 10 years' experience, a questionnaire was drafted and piloted with three other publishing employees. A refined version of the questionnaire was then used in semi-structured interviews with employees at the case-study organisations. The interview data was sorted using MAXqda software and then used to illuminate discussion of the issues under study. Results The most significant changes were found to be to the processes of production and marketing, and to the tools used to complete tasks. Changes associated with use of the internet, print-on-demand technology and e-books were demonstrated to be significant issues for the industry in general and for individual publishers. The industry showed itself to be flexible and adaptable, such that its conservative and reactive nature was not considered to be problematic. The findings were analysed using several theories of management of technological change. Neither labour process nor socio-technical design were found to be appropriate analytical tools. While strategic choice was found to have an application, the industry's approach to management was a better fit with flexible specialisation. Conclusion The introduction and use of ICT in the UK book publishing industry has initiated significant change, and publishers prepare for this through maintaining a flexible, adaptable approach. Several issues for consideration by the industry are raised and, while publishers may tackle these individually, there is little attempt made to apply industry-wide solutions. The style of management is evolutionary and organic, owing much to flexible specialisation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available