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COMPUTER NETWORKS IN THE CORPORATE BUSINESS SETTING

It is anticipated that further advances in communications and computer technologies will be the technologies exercising the greatest impacts on the development of postindustrial society. Economic organizations in postindustrial society are expected to benefit from far more effective communications technologies than are available in the early1990s.

Improved communications technologies will enhance information transfer. Improved computer technologies will enhance the capacity of economic organizations and institutions to make rapid and effective decisions. One significant advance is expected to be the combining of sophisticated decisionsupport systems and artificial intelligencebased knowledge systems.

One result of the advances in communications and computer technologies will be a diffusing of the decisionmaking activities in economic organizations and institutions in postindustrial society. The size (in terms of personnel) of organizational decisionmaking units is expected to become smaller in postindustrial society.

In many ways, postindustrial society appears to be highly appealing from the perspective of the early1990s. Efficiency and effectiveness will likely be enhanced in economic organizations and institutions. Organizational activity spans will likely be shortened significantly. More knowledge will be more accessible and usable. All of these factors create a favorable image for postindustrial society.

There is a significant danger, however, that the economic dislocations (worker unemployment, firm bankruptcies, and declines in national economic activity in some countries) associated with the transition period between an industrial economy and a postindustrial economy will not themselves be transitory. A more or less permanent character for these phenomena would significantly mar the attractiveness of a postindustrial society and economy.

The postindustrial age will dawn, however, whether or not ...

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