The Industrial Dynamics of the New Digital Economy

Harry Matlay (UCE Birmingham Business School, Birmingham, UK)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 1 September 2004



Matlay, H. (2004), "The Industrial Dynamics of the New Digital Economy", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 419-420.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

In the introduction to this excellent volume, the editors remind us that although the hype of the new economy has started to fade by the beginning of the new millennium, many of the questions regarding the cyclical dynamics of the economy have remained unanswered or, at most, tentative answers proved highly debateable. The book revisits the main issues of the new economy from a “balanced perspective”, ostensively unembedded in predominant or fashionable paradigms. This is an interesting claim, in particular as the editors introduce their contributors as “leading scholars” in their respective field of research. Their chapters aim to disseminate new knowledge and perspectives on the interplay between industrial dynamics and technological change. Three levels of analysis are employed to investigate the industrial dynamics of the new digital economy: macro‐economic, corporate and sectoral. Contributions from many countries and different disciplines blend well together and the three general approaches interact, connect and support each other to make this book an interesting and very informative read.

There are three parts and nine chapters in this book, each dedicated to a distinct analytical approach. In the first part, the authors take a macro‐economic and institutional perspective on recent economic trends. The context is dominated mainly by the recent changes that have occurred in the US economy. In the second part, the focus is on the implications of digitisation for the structure and strategies of large industrial firms. The final part is devoted to a sectoral view of the digital economy, with three chapters focusing each on the hand‐held computer industry, Internet business services and the use of customer relation management (CRM) systems.

I found it reassuring to note that each chapter is presented as an independent contribution, based on empirically rigorous and tested results, well written and fully referenced. One cannot make justice to such an extensive volume in a brief review and I would recommend this book as a leader in its field. All those interested in the digital economy should read it and benefit from its holistic perspective, well documented and expertly conducted arguments. I fully agree with the editors’ claim that overall, the book reflects one of the most significant characteristics of its topic, connectivity and interrelatedness across traditional boundaries.

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