There are two common misconceptions concerning policy for science and technology: firstly, that it is only government that is involved; and secondly, that any such policy consists of a coherent, consistent set of measures aimed at specific goals. Inevitably, things are rather more complicated. While government policy is of crucial importance it is nevertheless possible to identify other levels at which policy is made— whether it be implicit or explicit—and which influence the rate and direction of technological change. In the present context it may be useful to consider the point of application of technology by looking at the policy of the firm, and also at the attempts by those most directly affected by technological change to exert some influence. What follows considers three areas in which policy concerning microelectronics is evolving: at the level of the firm, within government, and among trade unions. Although attention is focused solely on developments in Britain, many of the lessons will be relevant to those countries in which debates concerning microelectronics are currently taking place.
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