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Book part
Publication date: 7 August 2019

Jacob Reilley and Tobias Scheytt

This study sets out to shed light on those infrastructures underlying the ubiquitous, yet contested nature of governing by numbers. Investigating the 30-year long…

Abstract

This study sets out to shed light on those infrastructures underlying the ubiquitous, yet contested nature of governing by numbers. Investigating the 30-year long emergence of Germany’s “external quality assurance system” for hospitals, the authors show how methods for quantifying quality align with broader institutional and ideational shifts to form a calculative infrastructure for governance. Our study focuses on three phases of infrastructural development wherein methods for calculating quality, institutions for coordinating data and reform ideals converge with one another. The authors argue that the succession of these phases represents a gradual layering process, whereby old ways of enacting quality governance are not replaced, but augmented by new sets of calculative practices, institutions and ideas. Thinking about infrastructures as multi-layered complexes allows us to explore how they construct possibilities for control, remain stable over time and transform the fields in which they are embedded. Rather than governance being enacted according to a singular goal or value, we see an infrastructure that is flexible enough to support multiple modalities of control, including selective intervention, quality-based competition and automatized budgeting. Infrastructural change, instead of revolving around crises in measurement, is shaped by incubation periods – times of relative calm when political actors, medical practitioners, mathematicians, and many others explore and reflect past experiences, rather than follow erratic reforms fads. Finally, analysing infrastructures as multi-layered constructs underlines how they produce multiple images of care quality, which not only shift existing power relations, but also change the ways we understand and make sense of public services.

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Thinking Infrastructures
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-558-0

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2020

Carlos A. Diaz Ruiz, Jonathan J. Baker, Katy Mason and Kieran Tierney

This paper aims to investigate two seminal market-scanning frameworks – the five-forces analysis and PESTEL environmental scanning tool – to assess their readiness for…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate two seminal market-scanning frameworks – the five-forces analysis and PESTEL environmental scanning tool – to assess their readiness for anticipating market-shaping acts.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on the market-shaping literature that conceptualizes markets as complex adaptive systems, this conceptual paper interrogates the underlying assumptions and “blind spots” in two seminal market-scanning frameworks. The paper showcases three illustrative vignettes in which non-industry actors catalyzed market change in ways that these market-scanning frameworks would not be able to anticipate.

Findings

Marketing strategists can be “blindsided” as seminal market-scanning frameworks have either too narrow an interpretation of market change or are too broad to anticipate specific types of market-shaping acts. The assumptions about markets that underpin these market-scanning frameworks contribute to incumbents being slow to realize market-shaping acts are taking place.

Research limitations/implications

The authors extend market-scanning to include a type of managerial myopia that fails to register the socially embedded, systemic nature of complex contemporary markets. Furthermore, the paper provides an “actors-agendas-outcomes” scanning framework that offers awareness of market-shaping acts.

Originality/value

This paper is the first to consider market-scanning frameworks from a market-shaping perspective.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 35 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2020

Thomas Berker and Ruth Woods

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the relevance and use of the concept “reverse salient” in ambitious infrastructural change. Thomas Hughes, in his seminal study…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate the relevance and use of the concept “reverse salient” in ambitious infrastructural change. Thomas Hughes, in his seminal study of socio-technical system building, observed that the elimination of “reverse salients”, i.e. subsystems that because of their limited performance hold back further development, was a central driver for creativity and innovation. It is argued that in sustainable infrastructural transformations, however, reverse salients that resist change are more often neglected than addressed.

Design/methodology/approach

Higher education institution campuses combine laboratory-like conditions and sufficient internal complexity to be used as test-beds for ambitious sustainable change in the built environment. In this article, a neglected barrier to the transformation of a small campus into a zero emission campus is revealed, described and addressed.

Findings

In terms of substantive findings, first, it is demonstrated how parts of infrastructures that – often for good reasons – have been neglected in efforts to reduce climate impacts can be identified with the help of a historical exploration of the site and through close collaboration with local facilities managers. Second, a temporary low-tech intervention is presented that addressed the critical problems related to these “reverse salients”.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations of a case study approach apply to this study. Particular caution has to be exercised in terms of generalisation. Moreover, the intervention would benefit greatly from stricter control and additional iterations of the intervention which have not yet been performed.

Practical implications

In addition to technology-focussed, top-down initiatives, which often struggle with actually reaching their ambitious goals in routine operation, neglected parts of campuses can contribute greatly to energy and emissions reductions. Moreover, it is demonstrated that and how local technical personnel has an important part to play in infrastructural transformations.

Originality/value

Concepts developed in the study of socio-technical system building have not yet been applied in the study and practice of sustainable infrastructural transformation. Their contribution is demonstrated. Moreover, living labs are notoriously difficult to evaluate. In this case study, processes and effects of an innovative living lab intervention are described and analysed. This enables a better understanding of restrictions and possibilities of experimenting in real-life settings.

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International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2000

Shoucheng OuYang, Taoy‐Yong Peng, Tian‐Gui Xiao, Yi Lin and Jinhai Miao

After many years’ practice and experiments, it was found that quantitative analysis systems with unequal quantitative effect cannot be extended into that with equal…

Abstract

After many years’ practice and experiments, it was found that quantitative analysis systems with unequal quantitative effect cannot be extended into that with equal quantitative effect. While it is related to such epistemological viewpoints as irregularity and continuity systems, an infrastructural form comparison has shown universally scientific and methodological characteristics. In combination with evolution of weather systems, our infrastructural analysis involves applications of super low temperatures, reversed information order, rolling currents infrastructure in reversal weather change and long‐term weather forecasting.

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Kybernetes, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 17 June 2009

Tao (Tony) Gao and Talin E. Sarraf

This paper explores the major factors influencing multinational companies’ (MNCs) propensity to change the level of resource commitments during financial crises in…

Abstract

This paper explores the major factors influencing multinational companies’ (MNCs) propensity to change the level of resource commitments during financial crises in emerging markets. Favorable changes in the host government policies, market demand, firm strategy, and infrastructural conditions are hypothesized to influence the MNCs’ decision to increase resource commitments during a crisis. The hypotheses are tested with data collected in a survey of 82 MNCs during the recent Argentine financial crisis (late 2002). While all the above variables are considered by the respondents as generally important reasons for increasing resource commitments during a crisis, only favorable changes in government policies significantly influence MNCs’ decisions to change the level of resource commitments during the Argentine financial crisis. The research, managerial implications, and policy‐making implications are discussed.

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Book part
Publication date: 7 August 2019

Andreas Folkers

The chapter analyses the role of smart grid technology in the German energy transition. Information technologies promise to help integrate volatile renewable energies…

Abstract

The chapter analyses the role of smart grid technology in the German energy transition. Information technologies promise to help integrate volatile renewable energies (wind and solar power) into the grid. Yet, the promise of intelligent infrastructures does not only extend to technological infrastructures, but also to market infrastructures. Smart grid technologies underpin and foster the design of a “smart” electricity market, where dispersed energy prosumers can adapt, in real time, to fluctuating price signals that register changes in electricity generation. This could neutralize fluctuations resulting from the increased share of renewables. To critically “think” the promise of smart infrastructure, it is not enough to just focus on digital devices. Rather, it becomes necessary to scrutinize economic assumptions about the “intelligence” of markets and the technopolitics of electricity market design. This chapter will first show the historical trajectory of the technopolitical promise of renewable energy as not only a more sustainable, but also a more democratic alternative to fossil and nuclear power, by looking at the affinities between market liberal and ecological critiques of centralized fossil and nuclear based energy systems. It will then elucidate the co-construction of smart grids and smart markets in the governmental plans for an “electricity market 2.0.” Finally, the chapter will show how smart grid and smart metering technology fosters new forms of economic agency like the domo oeconomicus. Such an economic formatting of smart grid technology, however, forecloses other ecologically prudent and politically progressive ways of constructing and engaging with intelligent infrastructures.

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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2010

Marieke Fijnvandraat and Harry Bouwman

The objective of this paper is to offer a validated framework for the analysis of (future) risks and uncertainties involved in the decision‐making process concerning the

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this paper is to offer a validated framework for the analysis of (future) risks and uncertainties involved in the decision‐making process concerning the upgrade and roll‐out of large infrastructural projects, e.g. broadband networks. The framework classifies risks and uncertainties based on the nature of the risks, levels and sources.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach takes the form of conceptual as well as qualitative and quantitative empirical analyses.

Findings

Telecommunications operators are faced with various types of risks and uncertainties in their decision‐making process concerning the upgrade and roll‐out of their broadband networks. In one respect, these risks and uncertainties have to do with the characteristics of large infrastructural projects, while, on the other hand, being caused by (unknown) competitor behaviour, (unknown) end‐user demand, rapid technological development and different development paths available to operators. Framing risks and uncertainties into a typology provides greater insight into the categories, characteristics and sources of the risks and uncertainties, as well as being a first step in finding ways to deal with them.

Originality/value

The paper presents and validates a framework for the analysis of risks and uncertainty. It also offers empirical data on how operators manage risk and uncertainties.

Details

Foresight, vol. 12 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 22 May 2019

N. Gökhan Torlak, Ahmet Demir and Taylan Budur

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships of capacity/layout (CL), design (D), location, (L), hygiene (H), human resource management (HRM), food quality…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationships of capacity/layout (CL), design (D), location, (L), hygiene (H), human resource management (HRM), food quality (FQ) and ambiance (A) in operations management strategies (OMS) and the direct and indirect effects of OMS on customer satisfaction (CS) and customer behavioral intentions (CBIs) that might affect income and, therefore, be influential regarding café-restaurants in Sulaimania in Iraq.

Design/methodology/approach

Data are collected through a survey questionnaire using a simple random sampling methodology from 254 customers of 46 casual café-restaurants. Methodology includes demographic analysis, factor analysis, structural equation modeling and mediation analysis.

Findings

Concerning relationships between structural and infrastructural elements of OMS, only CL and H influence HRM, D and H affect A, and H influences FQ. Regarding relationships between OMS and CS and CBIs, only L, HRM, FQ and A affect CS. Concerning the relationship between CS and CBIs, CS influences CBIs. Finally, given indirect effects of OMS on CS and CBIs, HRM mediates relationships between CL-CS and H-CS; FQ and A mediate relationships between H-CS; and CS mediates relationships between L-CBIs, FQ-CBIs and HRM-CBIs.

Research limitations/implications

The study that treats seven variables in OMS is limited to Sulaimania in Iraq. Thus, the findings cannot be generalized. The study might guide future studies about the way OMS elements forge CS and CBIs in café-restaurants where owners/managers develop credible strategic plans.

Originality/value

The study provides a unique insight into the hospitality industry in Iraq where studies among elements of OMS are few and far between.

Details

International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, vol. 69 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-0401

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 1997

Michael H. Small and Mahmoud M. Yasin

Uses information gathered from the advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) literature to develop an integrated conceptual framework for effectively planning and…

Abstract

Uses information gathered from the advanced manufacturing technology (AMT) literature to develop an integrated conceptual framework for effectively planning and implementing these systems. Then examines the efficacy of this framework by investigating the relationship between adoption of various advanced manufacturing technology (AMT), the way that firms plan for and implement them and their eventual performance. A detailed survey instrument was administered to a cross‐section of manufacturing firms in the USA to collect the required data. The results of this investigation indicate that the rate of adoption for integrated technologies was higher among firms that adopted more extensive formal planning approaches. In addition, these firms were found to be outperforming other firms. Also provides managerial and research implications of these and the other findings of this study.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 17 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2000

Robert D. Klassen

The popular business press, government regulators, environmentalists and the public are calling on operations managers to shift away from their traditional emphasis on…

Abstract

The popular business press, government regulators, environmentalists and the public are calling on operations managers to shift away from their traditional emphasis on pollution control toward pollution prevention when improving environmental performance. Yet, any managerial decision about the level and form of investment in these environmental technologies cannot be made in isolation, but instead must be implemented within the context of other manufacturing investments in process technologies and organizational systems. A survey of two Canadian industries – small machine tools and non‐fashion textiles – revealed evidence that environmental technologies have been regarded as ancillary investments; as investment in manufacturing increased, so did the proportion of that investment directed toward environmental technologies. Further, increased investment in advanced process technologies actually shifted investment away from pollution prevention. In contrast, increased investment in quality‐related organizational systems favored concurrent investment in recycling programs, along with pollution prevention and management systems. Thus, increased investment in quality management offered an important route to expand the implementation of pollution prevention.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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