A System Dynamics Model of Technology and Society: In the Context of a Developing Nation

A System Dynamics Model of Technology and Society: In the Context of a Developing Nation

Amos O. Omamo (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Bondo, Kenya), Anthony J. Rodrigues (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Bondo, Kenya) and Wafula J. Muliaro (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Juja, Kenya)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/IJSDA.2020040103

Abstract

Kenya has emerged in recent times as one of the fastest growing telecom markets in the world. There is not a single, widely used paradigm which has synthesised the various schools and theories dealing with technology and society. This article argues that the issue of mobile technology on society is a complex technical and social phenomenon that needs to be understood from both ICT and social science perspectives. This study used the concept of governance socio-techno-economic systems as the theoretical framework. System dynamics are used as both the methodology and tool to model the mobile industry impact on society. The study shows that the increase in social capital intensity is an important source of the economic growth. This increase will strengthen the accelerator mechanism of the economy and creates larger multiplier effects. The increase in social capital intensity can be obtained through managing innovation processes base on the development of education and the R&D capacity of the nation.
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2. Theoretical Framework

STS is a contested acronym: some understand it as ‘science and technology studies’, while others see it as ‘science, technology and society’ (studies) or ‘social studies of science and technology’. For this paper STS stands for Science, Technology and Society, emphasizing the societal aspects of scientific and technological development. Concerns about S&T were born of World War II, when people recognized the complex and problematic, and sometimes undesirable, relationships between power and science. STS emerged clearly in the late 1960s as a social movement, besides other social upheavals that appeared then (e.g. environmental and feminist groups). Because of its origins, STS studies have often been critical of S&T developments and often try to propose ways to control S&T. Later on, in the 1980s, STS was reinvented and turned into an academic field, focused mainly on knowledge creation, rather than policy and control issues.

Some authors (Spiegel-Rosing, 1977; Teich, 2001) argue there is a divide between STS studies and policy-making. Others (Williams & Edge, 1996) affirm that some streams of STS studies (e.g. especially social shaping of technology) have been concerned with technology policy. It can be argued that these academic communities are quite differentiated, with very little overlap. This does not mean that STS scholars have not influenced policy-making, as it is not their main concern, while STP researchers do seek to affect policy directly.

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