This paper discusses the relation between the quality and quantity indicators of physical capital and modernisation. While international academic literature emphasises the role of intangible factors enabling technology generation and absorption rather than that of physical capital accumulation, this paper argues that the quantity and quality of physical capital are important modernisation factors, particularly in the case of small, undercapitalised countries that recently integrated into the world economy. The paper shows that in Hungary, as opposed to developed countries, the technological upgrading of capital assets was not necessarily accompanied by the upgrading of human capital i.e. the thesis of capital skill complementarity did not apply to the first decade of transformation and capital accumulation in Hungary. Finally, the paper shows that there are large differences between the average technological levels of individual industries. The dualism of the Hungarian economy, which is also manifest in terms of differences in the size of individual industries' technological gaps, is a disadvantage from the point of view of competitiveness. The increasing differences in the size of the technological gaps can be explained not only with industry-specific factors, but also with the weakness of technology and regional development policies, as well as with institutional deficiencies.
In a context of rapid technological change, digital manufacturing technologies bear the promise of enabling significant improvement in operational efficiency. However, evidence indicates that investing in smart digital solutions, per se, does not guarantee performance improvement. Smart factory projects may be derailed, failing to realise the expected operational benefits. This study addresses the gap between academic propositions regarding the unequivocally positive impact of digitalisation and the actual evidence.
It draws on data obtained from 18 interviews with technology providers, managers and front-line workers at 12 Hungarian manufacturing companies. We use the concepts of resource complementarity, task–technology misfit, and technology acceptance as a theoretical lens to categorise the seemingly idiosyncratic and context-specific operational problems.
We find that digital technology implementation produces inferior-to-expectations outcomes unless companies invest in and upgrade their complementary intangible resources. Four distinct, albeit strongly interrelated types of complementarities are identified: managerial, organisational, skill-related and technical complementarities. Managerial capabilities to adjust the organisational structure, improve workflows and develop a strategy to address technical problems are found to be paramount to eliminate task-technology misfit and enhance technology acceptance.
The purpose of the paper is to explain the widely-observed phenomenon that the benefits of some apparently environmentally friendly solutions are much smaller than predicted. The applied research method is a systematic review of papers belonging to the ‘business and environment’ and ‘environmental science and technology’ literatures. Qualitative and interpretive research is used to support our propositions. Five key concepts accounting for the pitfalls associated with environmental sustainability-oriented (ESO) interventions have been identified and illustrated with reallife examples. Overlooked (1) interconnections among resources and environmental impacts, e.g. trade-offs, reveal that (2) system boundaries are often ill-defined, which can easily result in (3) problem shifting from one aspect of corporate environmental performance to another or from one stage in the life cycle to another. Additionally, false (4) assumptions and a strong (5) contextuality of best practices also overshadow the outcomes of ESO interventions. The relation among these general concepts is analysed and a graphic representation is provided.
The Hungarian economy is highly integrated in global value chains (GVC). Upgrading within GVCs is a key factor of sustaining the initial developmental push GVC participation provides. The article concentrates on R&D-based upgrading opportunities and their practical implementation by multinationals’ Hungarian subsidiaries in the automotive and electronics sectors. The content and the development of R&D activities; Hungary’s locational advantages for R&D projects, and their local impact are analysed based on interviews with twenty foreign-owned companies in the two selected sectors. We show that local R&D units’ activity is multifaceted, though they feature similar upgrading trajectories. Investors’ motivations: the knowledge- and efficiency-seeking nature of their projects and the related locational advantages are examined. We demonstrate that local R&D-intensive subsidiaries have a limited local impact except for the intensive contacts with local universities — with varying content and motives on the side of the R&D units. Drawing on our findings we formulate economic policy recommendations about the ways to foster and enhance R&D-based upgrading.
Conference Reports: (1) Europe after the Enlargement. International conference organized by The Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE) held on 8-9 April 2005 in Warsaw, Poland (Review by Agnieszka Paczymska and W. Paczymski). (2) Conference held in December 2004 on Paradigm Shift - Information, Knowledge and Innovation in the New Economy(Review by Andrea Szalavetz).