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Durham e-Theses
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The growth and locational dynamics of the UK computer services industry,1981-1996

Coe, Neil Martin (1996) The growth and locational dynamics of the UK computer services industry,1981-1996. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The central aim of this thesis is to explore the key structural, organisational and locational trends within an innovative, fast growing and strategically important producer service sector in the UK, the computer services industry. The thesis has five more specific objectives; firstly, to examine the ongoing internationalisation processes in this sector; secondly, to profile the spatial, structural and occupational structure of the UK industry in the context of these processes; thirdly, and most importantly, to explore the factors behind the uneven development pattern in this sector (London and the South East accounted for 59 per cent of employment in 1993); fourthly to contribute to the theoretical understanding of uneven development in contemporary economies; and finally, to consider the policy implications of the growth dynamics of the sector. The research is based on three main tranches of fieldwork. Firstly, 17 interviews with managers and officials in the Irish software industry provide a case study of the highly internationalised nature of the package software industry. Secondly, nine interviews with representatives of the top suppliers in the UK industry illustrate how these dominant firms are restructuring both spatially and functionally to meet the needs of the developing, international market. Thirdly, the results of a structured interview survey of 173 firms spread across four counties (Hertfordshire, Berkshire, Cheshire, Tyne & Wear) are presented to illustrate the regional variations within the industry's structure, new firm formation process and linkages that both underpin, and reflect the uneven development pattern in the sector. The analysis concludes that the dominance of the Greater South East in this industry is largely unassailable; based upon the historic growth of the industry, the region has long since achieved the critical mass to create many new firms which then reinforce the dominance, supported by the availability of labour, an acceptable living environment, and proximity to a large, high-order, regional market. The investment and restructuring strategies of key foreign-owned multinationals are also a key contributor to the South-East's primacy.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1996
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:24 Oct 2012 15:09

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