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Case-studies

The primary objective of the case-studies was to test the validity of the assertions and hypotheses arising out of the historical analysis. They were also expected to provide new insights into the dynamics of S&T and social development in the real world. Whenever possible, the case-studies attempted an empirical determination of micro-level indicators. At the very least, the indicators would provide a frame of reference for the interviews of principal actors and for the ensuing analysis.

The need for a traditional qualitative approach which involves intuitive and normative processes to achieve insights becomes more convincing when used in parallel with the indicator-empirical approach. The two approaches are complementary and mutually reinforcing. Since the problem involves numerous variables, an unconstrained freedom of imaginative exploration could yield valuable insights and discoveries. However, the standard norms of the scientific process must not be unduly compromised if we are to claim any degree of scientific validity. This is the rationale for using two parallel and simultaneous approaches in the case-studies.

The analytical framework for the case-study is shown in figure 7. The case-studies were directed at the following sectors:

1. The copper industry.
2. The alternative energy sector.
3. The coconut industry.
4. The semiconductor industry.

The copper industry is one of the oldest industries in the Philippines. It was hoped that it could provide significant insights into the evolution of technological capacity. The recent establishment of a local smelter and refinery would necessarily involve new technological inputs and backward linkages to the copper-wire industry. At the same time, the validity of the copper R&D establishment is being challenged by competition from aluminium and fibre optics. The response of the industry to its present depressed state and to the threat of technological obsolescence could reveal the salient structural features of its technological capacity.

The energy crisis of 1973 found the Philippines heavily dependent on imported oil. Ninety-five per cent of its energy requirement was supplied by imported petroleum. A crash programme to attain partial self-sufficiency was undertaken with strong government support. The non-conventional alternative energy sector, principally the geothermal and biogas systems, was considered a priority area.

Because of a strong political commitment to geothermal energy, the sector is an interesting subject for a case-study. And? the role of political support could be tested empirically.

The biogas subsector is also considered a good case-study because it is one of the very few examples of a successful response to the energy crisis by a private company through R&D. The biggest biogas facility in the Philippines (Maya Farms) is the product of more than a decade of R&D.

Like the copper industry, the coconut industry has a long history in the Philippines. It started in 1768 when a Spanish decree ordered the planting of coconuts. The export of copra began in 1895, and the first commercial oil mill was constructed in 1906. However, what makes the industry interesting for a case-study is the long history of R&D? which is mostly government-supported.

The semiconductor industry is claimed to be the Philippines' venture into high technology. The industry presents an interesting mix of subsidiaries, joint ventures, and fully Filipino-owned firms. A case-study of this sector could reveal the features of various modes of technology transfer and the role of equity.

In terms of the S&T taxonomical matrix, the choices for the case-studies are shown in table 8. In this sense? they are quite representative of the total technology-industry picture in the Philippines.

The essential input to the case-study consists of the following background information:

1. List of companies involved in the sector.
2. Company profiles.
3. Profiles of engineers.
4. Academic/government institutions involved in R&D in the sector.
5. List of training and educational institutions relevant to the sector.
6. Statistics on manpower with relevant expertise involved in the sector.
7. Compilation of literature on the economics of the sector.
8. Compilation of legislation and government policies and regulations on the sector.
9. Listing of relevant regulatory agencies.
10. Listing of the principal actors in the sector.
11. Compilation of historical literature on the sector.
12. Compilation of technology transfer arrangements in the sector.
13. Compilation of the local patents on the sector.
14. Listing of components of the techno-system.

Table 8. S&T taxonomical matrix for the case-studies

Type of technologies First-wave technologies Second-wave technologies Third-wave technologies
Materials technologies   Copper industry  
Equipment technologies
Energy technologies Geothermal energy
Information technologies   Semiconductor industry
Life technologies Coconut industry

Most information of significance is not in documented form. This is especially true of technology transfer arrangements and pricing. Interviews and commissioned background papers are primarily intended to overcome this constraint. Symposia and workshops involving the leading actors could yield further information and insights. Thus, documented information from bibliographic research supplemented by commissioned papers and the results of workshops are two major sources of inputs, illustrated in figure 6. These two sources are used to evaluate the self-reliance indicators, which are defined below. In addition, these are also utilized in determining the role of exogenous forces such as political, social, cultural, economic, and technology transfer factors.

For each case-study, two types of analysis are used. The cross-impact analysis is simply a semi-quantitative evaluation of the influence of the various exogenous factors on the set of self-reliance indicators. This will serve to identify the factors with most influence on particular dimensions of self-reliance.

The normative analysis is essentially qualitative, that is, complementary and supplementary to the cross-impact analysis. It involves the assessment of the explicit goals of the techno-system vis--vis the self-reliance indicators. In addition, sectoral goals are analysed in the context of national goals and needs.

In general, the research methodology presented here is a logically structured approach. It is a synergistic mixture of quantitative and qualitative elements.

The first step in the process of getting an operational fix on the concept of technological self-reliance at the micro level is to enumerate all the relevant characteristics of the techno-system. These characteristics are subsequently expressed in terms of variables that relate to self-reliance, and each variable is further broken down into measurable indicators. The process is depicted in figure 7. The result of this process is shown in Appendix 1.

Fig. 6. Analytical framework for the case-studies

Fig. 7. The process of quantifying self-reliance

Each indicator will, of course, be chosen to be theoretically measurable. One way of doing this is to choose indicators that could be expressed as an ordinal set of rank order categories. The ordinal set must be constructed in a standard undirectional classificatory principle. Here it is conceptualized as a continuum from absence to presence, and from low to high, as illustrated below.

Indicator values Empirical reference
1 Absent, low
2 Partly, medium
3 Present, high

Each indicator should have a special and suitable formulation of empirical reference. The result of the process is shown in Appendix 1, where the system characteristics, variables, and indicators are listed.

In the actual studies, the relevant indicators are evaluated through the analysis of background information and interviews. The evaluation of the indicators reveals the most significant dimensions of self-reliance. It must be emphasized that the operational definition presented here is primarily intended to fix the meaning of the multidimensional concept of S&T self-reliance. The numerical values of the indicators are relatively unimportant compared to the semantic clarification of the concept. Moreover, the concept of the techno-system and the self-reliance indicators provide a common framework for the different case-studies. The ultimate prize was that the case-studies could be undertaken in a uniform systematic manner. Consequently, the results have a high degree of comparability.


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