|Industrial Development through Small-Firm Cooperation: Theory and Practice (ILO, 1992, 80 p.)|
|3. Concluding remarks|
Whatever the existing conditions, it is clear that should it be decided to upgrade an industrial sector, or number of sectors, along the lines advocated in this study, considerable change will be involved, and there must be agencies and mechanisms to manage it. So a major question must be: What institutional arrangements can be devised to organize change?
The evidence we have presented, particularly in Chapter 2, indicates perhaps two main points.
First, there must be strong consensus among all the main interest groups. One first step must then be to create a tripartite framework and encourage a climate of cooperation and support.
Second, a general aim must be to initiate a process of constant dialogue - involving researchers, consultants and technical experts, on the one hand, and employers, trade unionists, government officials and other practitioners, on the other-where problems can be identified and solutions proffered, tried, tested, and rejected or accepted. Institutions must be established to maximize this dialogue on a continuous basis. An initial step, therefore, might be to bring both groups together to initiate a collaborative programme.
This could be followed by similar meetings for particular industrial sectors. An important objective would be to ensure that control is essentially retained by local people and that outside experts participate only to the extent of giving advice. That advice would be coloured by the local knowledge and expertise provided by people who "know" their own country and industrial sectors. As with other parts of the programme, the aim would be to engage in a constant learning process by all parties. This implies a need for regular meetings and discussions.
Accompanying the creation of an appropriate political or consensual framework, there must be high-grade analytical studies. These should provide information on sectoral strengths and deficiencies, and the basic institutional framework within which, initially at least, any programme of intervention must work. What, if any, employers' organizations and trade unions exist? What are the training facilities? What is the character of the regulatory environment? These studies would be important inputs for discussion at the meetings referred to above, as well as providing general guidance for other initiatives.
The process of constant interaction between outsiders and local interest groups should proceed down to the lowest level. It may be that the Danish idea of network brokers could be used for work with even smaller groups of entrepreneurs, again acting essentially as catalysts. Also important would be the creation of a service system, including perhaps dedicated sectoral service centres along the lines of the Italian model.
Sectoral working parties could be created, including representatives of employers, trade unions and government, as well as outside consultants and technical specialists, to draw up strategies for individual sectors. These could include attempts to introduce efficient industrial and information networking, as well as improve the quality of the enabling environment: design schools, technical schools, training centres, financial systems, regulatory laws, marketing institutions and fiscal systems.