Other perspectives: Internal Assets, Business Processes & Human capital, Sustainability, Competitiveness & Innovation, Value Flows & Stock (money, material, information, knowledge)


In this page the focus is on the Generalized Dashboard perspective of External Stakeholders, Collaborative Processes and Social Capital.

Some background in Economics

Inclusive views on economic progress are given by the older economists, including Adam Smith (1776)1, when they contrasted the increasing returns which they thought were characteristic of manufacturing industry taken as a whole with the diminishing returns which they thought were dominant in agriculture because of an increasingly unfavourable proportioning of labour and land. Young (1928)2 adds to these views some observations on the origins and nature of the "improvements" to secure a progressively more effective use of labour in manufactures. He stresses three points regarding "the circumstance in which lies the possibility of economic progress, apart from the progress which comes as a result of the new knowledge which men are able to gain:"
(i) that the progressive division of and specialisation of industries is an essential part of the process by which increasing returns are realised and that it is required to so see industrial operations as a whole;
(ii) that the securing of increasing returns depends upon the progressive division of labour, and the principal economies of the division of labour, in its modern form are the economies which are to be had by using labour in roundabout or indirect ways;
(iii) that the division of labour depends upon the extent of the market, but the extent of the market also depends upon the division of labour.

Collaborative Processes without the web

The autonomous and collaborative development of actors (society, community or business and person) involves the movement and appropriation of assets and the progressive division of labour, including the knowledge work. Often, actors will be in the position that they have to purchase assets or services from other actors. Purchasing Maturity (development) models3, help to position problems in a context and to deduct directives on project focus in complex environments.

The definition of purchasing of van Weele (2000) is: “Obtaining from external sources all goods, services, capabilities and knowledge which are necessary for running, maintaining and managing the company’s primary support activities at the most favourable conditions.”

Purchasing activities occur in a market, which in an inclusive sense, is defined as an aggregate of production activities tied together by trade, in which there must be some sort of balance, that different productive activities must be proportioned to one another (Young, 1928).

Collaborative Processes involving the web and knowledge

Where the web is already playing a significant role as a conduit that lets productive ideas flow across the globe, at present it does not compensate for the free riding and under-supply that plagues knowledge as it becomes a pure and global public good (Global Public Goods, 2005)4.

An actor that lacks the knowledge used to create value in a modern economy suffers from an idea gap5.

Whereas the partial and temporary monopoly power that is granted by patents, or by control of a large fraction of the market, lock-in or network externalities, may act as motivators for intentional efforts to produce and transmit knowledge (Romer, 1993 and 20036), there is as yet no consensus on the basic institutional infrastructure for market exchanges when knowledge is the good exchanged7.

In society as a whole, the ultimate market that the web can bring to each actor's productive activities, the matching of demand and supply of knowledge is slow and laborious where it occurs. And even when a deal has been forged, the experience with ICT projects at (many) resourceful actors, is that failure is nearly as common as success. Failure is endemic due to poorly adapted market mechanisms and poor actor maturity, when it comes to the division of knowledge work, and the seizing of the returns in knowledge-enhanced work systems. The conditions for the progressive division of knowledge work are not yet favourable.

Social Capital

Social capital consists of the broad complex of social networks, protocols, norms and values comprise social capital. An increase in social capital can reduce the cost of production by increasing the likelihood of successful coordination and collective action. If social networks and norms are viewed as the capital stock, the flow of services from social capital are information (about the world and the behavior of others) and trust, respectively8.

van Weele relates purchasing maturity to the overall maturity of a certain branch, and places each branch at a specific maturity stage. During the past years, the public sector “branch” has started climbing the maturity ladder, via e-government initiatives, public-private partnerships and other initiatives.
There are plenty of signs of a growing purchasing maturity in the knowledge intensive society, which for that reason increasingly becomes ICT-reliant as well. Initiatives to make the public sector more results-based as in Ten Steps to a Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation System9, suggest that knowledge and information exchanges among the stakeholders should become more intensive. The requirements could be described as at stage 4 to 6 in van Weele’s model. At these stages, information infrastructure is a critical capability.

External Stakeholders

The motives to sustain a worksystem are related to its capability to create value or mitigate risks for its stakeholders. Typical external stakeholders include customers, suppliers and share-holders.

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