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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should:

  • understand why and how innovation is important;

  • recognise the benefits which innovation can confer on an innovating organisation.


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2.1 Introduction

'All experiences count and are valuable and no one should push those aside. It really doesn't matter where that experience was gained. It's about what you learnt from it… don't devalue yourself. Recognise the importance of what you've done.'

Ruth Stokes, KPMG on the vol
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1.4.1 Historical background

European unification was begun by the social democratic and Christian democratic leaders of the Western European states who had fought each other during the Second World War. The idea was to create a community of states that would guarantee peace and prosperity. The process turned out to be long and arduous, particularly after the federalist failures of the Congress of the Hague (1949) and the European Defence Community (1953). The main emphasis was on economic co-operation, and the project w
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1.3.1 Europe and the EU

Is there a Europe beyond the EU? This is a question that becomes more and more difficult to answer. It is quite common for example to hear of such or such a country wishing to ‘join Europe’, when what is meant is that they wish to apply to join the EU.

The criteria for joining the EU were laid down in the summit of Copenhagen, 21 and 22 June 1993. Candidates must have reached an institutional stability that guarantees democracy, legality, human rights, and the respect and protection
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1.13 Conclusion

So far we have traversed three kinds of domain in which the study of discourse is relevant. Discourse is often (but not necessarily) interactional and researchers have studied the order and pattern in social interaction. The study of discourse also has important psychological implications for the study of minds, selves and sense-making. Finally, discourse is about social relations, culture, government and politics.

No doubt, as you have been reading some problematic and confusing areas
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1.12 The politics of representation

We turn now to consider Diana as an icon, as the subject of discourse. It could be said that Diana and the many words written about her form a discursive space (Gilbert et al., 1999; Silverstone, 1998). She is the rather enigmatic centre of many competing representations of royalty, femininity, democracy, the family, morality, celebrity, fashion, private versus public life which jostle with each other. Such a discursive space is a place of argument. To use another metaphor, it i
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1.10 Voice and the speaking subject

Discursive practices, as we have seen, order the shape of written and spoken discourse; they order the features which appear and the selection of words and phrases. But these properties are only a small subset of those which govern meaning-making. In this and in the next section we will be more concerned with patterns in the content of discourse and the psychological and sociological implications of those patterns. This will help elaborate further on the notion that language is constru
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1.4.1 Discourse involves work

If discourse is doing something rather than doing nothing, what kinds of things are being done? We can see that Diana's account in Extract 1, like all accounts, constructs a version of social reality. When we talk we have open to us multiple possibilities for characterizing ourselves and events. Indeed, there are many ways Diana could have answered Bashir's first question in the extract above. Any one description competes with a range of alternatives and indeed some of these alternativ
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1.7 Conclusion

Several concluding points are worth drawing attention to. First, it is clear that the general thrust of EU policy making, whether this be pushed by the Commission or the Council of Ministers, is one that embodies a neo-liberal, market-based liberalisation and de-regulatory agenda, though as with any programme of this kind, there are anomalies and reversals to this overall trajectory. Nevertheless, it is not one that has foregrounded the idea of a ‘social Europe’, even though this does fig
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1.6.3 Fiscal retrenchment?

If we turn to fiscal issues, at the time of entry to the EU in 2004, six of the ten entry countries had government deficits in excess of the SGP/ Maastricht Treaty 3 per cent of GDP rule: the Czech Republic (−5.9 per cent), Cyprus (−4.6 per cent), Hungary (−4.9 per cent), Malta (−5.9 per cent), Poland (−6.0 per cent) and Slovakia (−4.1 per cent). Thus these countries would be required to cut back on their public expenditures or increase taxes so as to move into a more or less bala
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1.6.1 Introduction

Of course, there is another problem hovering in the background in respect to the Euro's international role: namely that of the enlargement of the EU. In the light of the analysis so far two areas are picked out here: monetary implications and fiscal policy implications. These are obviously closely related. Both of these raise questions about the costs involved for the new members and those set to join somewhere down the line. We concentrate on the monetary issue of joining the Euro-zone first
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1.5.4 Summary

  • The Euro has become an important currency of denomination for government and corporate bonds.

  • There is now emerging a two-currency world, made up of the US dollar and the EU Euro.

  • The advantages to countries of being able to borrow internationally in their own currencies have not been lost to them, so there will be an incentive for the east-Asian countries to develop their own ‘regional’ financial markets.


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1.4.3 Summary

  • EMU has been accompanied by fiscal rules embodied in the SGP.

  • An issue raised by this is the compatibility of a common single monetary policy target designed to defeat inflation with different fiscal policies ostensibly at the discretion of the individual govern ments.

  • When France and Germany contravened the SGP fiscal rule, it was effectively suspended and broke down. This was a case of the Council of Ministers asserting c
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1.4.1 Nature of the pact

With the advent of EMU and the Euro the question of the SGP embodied in the Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 was raised once again (Linter, 2001, p. 68). This pact is designed to ensure that EU member states’ fiscal policies (involving government taxation and expenditure decisions) do not clash with their monetary policies (or, in the case of the Euro-zone countries, with the monetary policy pursued by the ECB). As we have seen, by and large, the monetary policy pursued by the ECB is
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1.2.2 Summary

  • The EU-15/25 is a large and prosperous player on the world economic stage.

  • It represents a continental-sized economy, able to compete with the USA and Japan (and China and India, somewhere down the line).

  • The new EU members who joined in 2004, and those lining up to join later, are at a different level of development to the EU-15.

  • This will pose considerable challenges for those managing and governing the n
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4.3 Summary

If social researchers are to be effective in understanding people, they need to be detached from common sense (the perspective of the person on the street). However, they should not be so detached that they fall into the trap of imposing their own categories upon the object without regard for the experience of those involved (the perspective of the expert).

The standpoint of the ‘stranger’ provides a way of mediating between the detached position of the scientist and the personal ex
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2.3 The challenge of terminology

Probably the biggest challenge that you will encounter is acquiring a command of the terms and concepts of this field of knowledge – even the words ‘philosophy’ and ‘science’ can seem off-putting. In your reading around this unit you will come into contact with a wide range of ‘-isms’, ‘-sophies’ and ‘-ologies’, some of which you may have encountered in previous studies. Actually, these terms are best seen as shorthand for groups of assumptions and ideas about the way th
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2 Personal lives

We start our exploration of the interrelationship of personal lives and social policy with personal stories.

Activity 1

Read Extracts 1, 2 and 3 below, and make notes on areas of similarity and difference. What questions are raised a
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Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

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6.1 The complexities of a multifaceted Europe

If the ‘Europe of the Regions’ model is also ruled out – at least in its stronger versions which suggest that nation states are being replaced – the interesting question remains: how will significantly enhanced regionalisms relate to other ‘possible Europes’? These include the traditional ‘nation state’ and ‘Federal Europe’ models, both of which also reflect some continuing elements of reality, but in addition a ‘Europe’ of cities, of cultures, of national and ethnic m
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