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Policy-making in information technology: a decisional analysis of the Alvey Programme

Keliher, Leo (1987) Policy-making in information technology: a decisional analysis of the Alvey Programme. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004348


In June 1988 the five-year, £350 million Alvey programme for advanced information technology is scheduled to terminate. This study is a critical appraisal of the decision-making associated with all aspects of the formulation, approval, implementation and operation of the Alvey policy programme. The study analyses why a government that preaches public sector disengagement from the market has channelled funds into one of the fastest growing sectors of British industry, why a government committed to competition endorsed a programme based on collaboration between firms, and why a government opposed to picking 'winners' implemented a programme aimed at a few selected technologies. It describes the intricate advisory mechanisms which support decision-making by powerful but technologically ill-informed government departments and the British core executive. The study questions the wisdom of the government insisting that industry should frame industry policy - for when a sector dominated by defence contractors did so, the result was an increased dependence on government. When the government engaged in a meso-corporatist policy-making arrangement with Industry, it did so from a position of weakness. Industry had the technical expertise, operational control of major projects, and a dominant role within the Alvey directorate. The result was a pattern of self-interested and short-sighted policy-making biased towards the interests of large firms In the defence and telecommunications fields. By divorcing itself from the mainstream of information technology developments and concentrating on selected narrow niches, the British information technology industry has set itself a difficult task for survival in the years ahead.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 1987 Leo Keliher
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Dunleavy, Patrick

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