The research programme will be headed by leading LSE experts in economics, government, media and communications, and social psychology and will cover four themes:
Public policy and services (Patrick Dunleavy)
Intellectual property, technology and productivity (John Van Reenen, Danny Quah)
Media, connectivity, literacies and ethics (Robin Mansell)
Complexity, mediation and facilitation. (Patrick Humphreys)
Public policy and services
What is the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in modern public sector organisations? Although in everyday life ICTs form a central preoccupation of administrators, managers and politicians in many governmental contexts, theories of public management, public administration and public policy have not developed to adequately explain their role. The aim of this programme is to remedy this with a mix of theoretical and empirical research. Dunleavy and colleagues will investigate:
the involvement of ICTs and technological changes in wider organisational change management and development;
interactions between knowledge development and specialisation on the one hand and technological progress and change on the other;
the specification of the core mission of agencies, the alignments made with private sector organisations and partners and the mutual development of different organisations' missions; and
how ICTs either shape or are 'neutrally' incorporated into or are displaced from public sector agencies' organisational cultures.
See Public policy and services projects.
Intellectual property, technology and productivity
(John Van Reenen, Danny Quah, Nick Bloom)
Productivity growth and innovation are the key to the long-run material prosperity of nations and firms. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are an important 'general purpose' technology that has spread into every area of our lives. The sectors that use and produce ICTs account for a large part of the acceleration in US productivity growth since 1995 - an acceleration that has not (yet) been witnessed in Europe. Part of the reason for this may be the need for different organisational forms to use new technologies efficiently, but such changes to management practices (such as radical decentralisation and talent management) are very hard to make.
We investigate these issues in three linked projects. The first project focuses on ICT and productivity in the private sector, tracking firms for up to ten years and mapping the evolution of their productivity and technological choices. The second project focuses on a key part of the public sector: what has been the impact of ICT use in schools? The third project looks at innovation more broadly and focuses on how intellectual property rights might help (or hinder) the development and spread of new ideas.
See Intellectual property, technology and productivity projects.
Media, connectivity, literacies and ethics
The social and technological transformations we face today may be even more profound than those that initiated the industrial revolution. The increasingly pervasive new media and communication technologies are changing the way we live and think and new forms of social and economic relations are transforming the interface between society and technology. This research will develop intellectual frameworks and practical solutions for understanding and managing these transformations in the public and private sectors and as they affect citizens and consumers in their everyday lives.
The research projects focus on the changing role of the media, the implications of the scale, scope and intensity of electronic networks, the changing meaning of and need for new media literacies, and the ethical considerations that innovation in this area continues to raise.
See Media, connectivity, literacies and ethics projects.
Communication, complexity mediation and facilitation
(Patrick Humphreys, Garrick Jones, Carol Lorac)
Large-scale group decision support systems are rapidly evolving. Purpose-built environments, supporting information systems, design-led processes and multimedia platforms are converging in ways which enable decision-making on scales incomprehensible five years ago. The projects in this theme investigate the platforms enabling creativity, mediation and facilitation of such decision making in complex and distributed organisational and community contexts.
Textual material is becoming increasingly inadequate for communicating precise information rapidly across the globe. Commercial and cultural success will come to depend upon developing a high level of mass mixed-media 'literacy' in the 21st century (matching the mass written literacy of the 20th) and on exploiting the potential of richer content mixed-media material, which includes sound, moving and still pictures as well as text. In order to reveal the potential of audiovisual and multimedia composition and to extend the boundaries of communication, we are developing Images and Sounds, an electronic book using compositional methods that successfully exploit the three composing processes - written, audiovisual and multimedia.
Accompanying research will analyse developments and problems in group decision support systems. It will identify a synthesis of theories that influence decision-making within organisations and a number of innovations in the enabling platforms for decision-making, including space, processes and event design, facilitating innovation, creativity and communication in complex organisational contexts. We propose the evolution of group decision authoring and communication support (GDACS) and plan to develop a comprehensive architecture to enable this approach.
We will investigate ways in which context can be enriched, permitting identification of new resources and pathways for innovative decision-making which can empower community-based decision makers in particular by exploring context in an arena founded on their own preferences.
See Communication, complexity mediation and facilitation projects.