Series theme

Aims and Objectives

The aim of the series is to address growing concerns for the future of our interlocked ecological, political and economic systems in a highly populated world that is characterised by major social and economic disparities. The complex relationship between the economy, society and the environment and scientific knowledge requires a multi-disciplinary approach, and calls for skilled communication to be able to address technological issues as well as the political framework within which problem solving necessarily takes place. In practical terms, this series will demonstrate that SD is a multidisciplinary process that involves all issues such as science, innovation, technology, research & development, information technology, human capital development, business and management, trade, etc for knowledge based economies and growth. The series will attempt to provide many international illustrative examples, rather than exhaustive research oriented cases material.

Scope and Focus

Globalisation is more than just producing, marketing, and distributing goods and services throughout the world. Globalisation is a new way of thinking and the greatest challenge to our age. The global competitive environment is changing dramatically. Instead of large companies dominating international markets, with smaller businesses remaining local or regional, many small firms today have to be globally competitive, whether they enter the global arena or not.

Advances in the technological innovations in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have contributed to the shaping of the world we live in and we are truly now in the era of the Information Revolution. Today, countries are increasingly judged by whether they are information-rich or information-poor with an estimated 50 percent of the world’s economic growth and all new jobs will be IT driven. Yet, according to the United Nations (UN), millions of people in Africa have never made a telephone call and without the ability to communicate most developing countries (DCs) including Africa will remain poor and isolated, lacking the means to participate in the global society. To operate efficiently, it is imperative to possess knowledge on a broad spectrum of issues and concepts that affect business activities around the globe. Successful management in the new millennium requires developing new methods and approaches to suit the challenges and opportunities of this new era of information revolution.

There have been innumerable attempts (books, journal, networks, organisations) over the last 50 years to examine the subject of SD, bringing more than four hundred definitions, concepts, perspectives, concerns and solutions for SD. But how they relate to each other and provide a clear understanding of our common future still remain a key question to be addressed. The SD problematique is strongly influenced by the institutional culture in which international discussions have taken place. The World Bank, for example, uses the discourse of ‘financial, physical, human, social and natural capital’ in its conceptualisation of SD.

The development goals of UN are expressed in terms of human and environmental well-being, couched in terms of major issue areas (e.g. health, food, water, energy and the environment) and in the context of international partnership. The Brundtland Commission report on ‘Our Common Future’ focuses on institutional imperatives in addressing SD issues, including political, economic, social and administrative systems. The Brundtland Report explicitly addresses the matter of production and technological systems, but without anchoring the discussion in the realities of the patchy, embryonic state of global S&T cooperation.

It is significant that embedding SD into mainstream policies for international cooperation in science and technology has been underdeveloped, particularly at the global level. However, it is just as significant that where major partnerships in S&T exist between developed and developing countries, SD issues are often in the forefront, often in the context of technical aid to the DCs . What this approach fails to achieve, however, is systematic knowledge transfer between and amongst countries that are not directly involved in such cooperative ventures. It also presupposes a model of innovation as emerging from the developed world to be subsequently adapted by the developing world, whereas the reality of innovation is far more complex and evenly distributed than typically acknowledged by the ‘donor’ countries.