The new International Journal of Technology Management seeks to change the situation. Its first volume raises many issues that need discussion and have not been adequately treated elsewhere.
The articles are of three kinds. First, government ministers, chief executives and other upper level managers relate their experiences and ideas; these are people to be listened to, and my only complaint is that none of them write about the catastrophes that must have occurred during their journeys to the top.
Another portion of the journal is devoted to global statistics—of employment and productivity effects of robots in Japan, computer-integrated manufacturing in the United States, the industrial potential of biotechnology in the European Community. Also included are ideas about practice and education, mainly from management teachers. These papers vary from the pedestrian to the interesting. Finally, there are a few pages of useful news and views.
The existence of this journal raises an important question: should technology management be isolated from general management in the journals? After all, a technology manager must be involved in all key decisions throughout his organization, and colleagues looking after finance, marketing and so on need to know something about technology if they are to play their parts.
A scrutiny of the material suggests that technology management should be dealt with in the general journals. Since technologists will be familiar with much of the content in this journal, it can be argued that those who have the most to gain from it are those who typically see the word "technology" and immediately say "it's not for me." Furthermore, all the contributions are equally comprehensible to all managers, whether or not they are looking after technology.
An engaging paper by Mitroff and Mohrman of the University of Southern California entitled "The Whole System is Broke and in Desperate Need of Fixing" is a case in point. The important thesis that everything in today's world is interconnected and that separatism and selfishness stand in the way of human well-being is a matter of concern for everyone, not just the technologists.
It may be difficult to sustain interest in some of the material in the journal. Once one has read the ideas of a dozen or so chief executives there may not be very much that is new for any others to say.
However, the horse is out and so the job this time is not to bolt the stable door but to try and harness the horse (which is a healthy animal) in a team with others. It's a bit hard to urge merger on a newly-launched enterprise, but that is what may be desirable!