Scientists, Engineers, and Technological Obsolescence

by Newton Margulies, Anthony Raia



Scientists and engineers keep up to date by engaging in a variety of activities which, for the most part, are unrelated to formal continuing education programs. The most effective formal courses appear to be those that emerge in response to on-the-job requirements. Certain environmental factors appear to facilitate learning and mutual stimulation in those organizations studied which, by virtue of their current growth, are seen to be successful. The most obvious of these factors are those which comprise the "technical system." This includes the technology of R&D and the way in which the work is organized. Other factors, although not as noticeable nor as easy to describe are nevertheless present. These are perhaps more important than the technical system and may be described as those elements of the organizational climate which help to determine the "character" of the organization. The climate may very well be an indicator of the organization's potential use of its technical system. In other words, what is called climate here may represent a dimension of the organizational environment which determines the extent to which the technical system can put forth productive, creative output.

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