Personal computing in the CEMA community: A study of international technology development and management.
AuthorStapleton, Ross Alan.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe dissertation covers a spectrum of issues relating to the creation, acquisition and application of personal computers in the CEMA economies. Personal computing is examined through five stages, each a step in the process of integration of personal computing into the economies. They consider personal computing as: (1) Paradigm, how the Soviets and East Europeans view personal computing and how that relates to Western developments; (2) Technology, with discussion of indigenous capabilities of the CEMA members. Major topics are the Soviet microprocessor inventory, and the mechanisms whereby indigenous capabilities are increased, in particular via technology transfer; (3) Commodity, relating the technologies to actual products and production levels achieved. This stage also considers the availability of external sources (trade) for technology embodied as products; (4) Tool, discussing the products in application. The major application areas, including computer literacy education, are described. (5) Change, summarizing the current and expected social and economic effects of personal computing. The greatest emphasis is placed on the first three stages, which have progressed to the point where strong conclusions may be drawn. Achievements in personal computing application vary greatly across the CEMA community, and the coverage is directed to two case studies of Hungary and the USSR. Analysis of the last stage is necessarily largely speculative. Problems encountered in the promotion of personal computing, almost all arising out of economic and technological deficiencies, have rendered moot many questions related to the social effects of personal computing. The research shows that personal computing, in particular as it acts as a commodity, is largely alien to current CEMA economic management, and that the CEMA economies are having a difficult time in the creation or acquisition and support of PCs. This prevents their appearance in sufficient quantity to be useful as tools, or to effect change. The dissertation concludes with predictions of the nature of personal computing in the CEMA community over the next decade, and an analysis of the current and future relationship of the CEMA community to the rest of the world, especially for technology and commodity transfer from the developed West and newly-industrializing countries.
Degree ProgramBusiness Administration