Knowledge in Society 3 (3):36-43 (1990)

Knowledge Information Systems (KIS) institutions must receive strong and focused external pressure to function synergetically over sustained periods. This external pressure should be exercised by other elements in the system. Without such pressure, institutions and personnel act to fulfill their own social and political needs more than those of their clients, and their effectiveness is inevitably reduced. This article is concerned with the “moving forces” that instill public agricultural knowledge systems with particular dynamics. The article's objectives are to predict under what circumstances external pressures will occur and their likely outcomes, and to advise KIS managers on how they can be managed. The first section reviews the evolution of the concept of external pressure as a moving force in the dynamics of technology systems. The next four sections examine the roles of policy makers, foreign agencies, farmers, and the private sector, respectively, in pressuring KIS institutions. The sixth section explores how institutions behave without external pressure. A final section looks at what all this implies for KIS managers' “room to maneuver.”
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