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Conference to address industrial changes

The dramatic changes in industrial practices and attitudes taking place throughout the developed world will be the focus of the second international Conference on the Future of Industry in Advanced Societies at MIT on April 6 and 7.

The conference is part of the ongoing research program at the MIT Center for Industrial Performance that grew out of the well-known Made in America study of the late 1980s. The conference is expected to draw a range of industrial leaders, government policymakers and leading researchers from throughout the world.

"Only a few years ago the decline of American industrial performance was widely perceived to be endangering this nation's economic future," said Professor Richard Lester, director of the Center. "Today, many think the United States has regained its lead in global competition. To move beyond this cycle of self-doubt and self-congratulation, we need to examine critically the strengths and weaknesses of the industrial structures and practices that are now emerging around the world." Professor Lester is co-chairing the conference with Professor Suzanne Berger of political science, who also played a major role in the original study.

On the morning of Friday, April 7, the conference will break up into roundtable sessions to discuss new research findings and challenges in several key areas of industrial practice and public policy. The Roundtables will be held in two phases, from 9-10.30am and from 11am-12.30pm.

The first group of discussions (9-10:30am) will be:

1A. Rethinking the National Laboratories-Robert Birgeneau, dean of Science at MIT (chair); Genya Chiba, vice president of the Japan Research Development Corp.; Alexander MacLachlan, deputy undersecretary for technology partnerships and economic competitiveness, US Department of Energy, and Nicholas Samios, director of Brookhaven National Laboratory.

1B. Societal Choices and the Information Infrastructure-Michael Dertouzos, director of MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (chair); Mitch Kapor, president of Kapor Enterprises and adjunct professor in the MIT Program in Media, Arts and Sciences; Eli Noam, director of the Columbia Institute of Tele-Information at Columbia University, and David Tennenhouse, associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT.

1C. Core Industries, New Technologies-Diran Apelian, provost of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (chair); Frederick Abernathy, director of the Center for Textile and Apparel Research at Harvard University; John Macomber, president of the George B.H. Macomber Co., and K.S. Narasimhan, vice president of research and development of the Hoeganaes Corp.

1D. Competition, Jobs and Wages-Frank Levy, professor of urban studies and planning at MIT (chair); Martin Baily, member-nominee of the Council of Economic Advisers; Thomas Edsall of The Washington Post, and Marvin Kosters of the American Enterprise Institute.

1E. New Developments in Industrial Ecology-David Marks, professor of civil engineering and environmental engineering and John Ehrenfeld, director of the Program on Technology, Business and Environment at MIT (Co-chairs); Braden Allenby, vice president for technology and environment at AT&T; Robert Pfahl, director of manufacturing and environmental technology assessment of Motorola.

The second group of discussions (11am-12:30pm) will be:

2A. The Transformation of the Defense Industry-Harvey Sapolsky, director of the MIT Defense and Arms Control Studies Program (chair); Ralph Heath, director of international programs at the Lockheed Ft. Worth Co.; Thomas McNaugher, director of the Strategy and Doctrine Program at the RAND Corp., and Cai Von Rumohr, managing director of Cowen Inc.

2B. Work, Design and the Social Mind-Richard Lester, director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center (chair); Michael Piore, professor of economics at MIT; John Seely Brown, director of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, and William Mitchell, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

2C. New Findings from the Sloan Human Resources Network-Thomas Kochan and Richard Locke, professors of management at MIT (co-chairs); Paul Osterman, professor of management at MIT, and Jack Sheinkman, president of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union.

2D. The Productivity Impacts of Information Technology-Ellen Knapp, vice chairman of Coopers & Lybrand (chair); Erik Brynjolfsson, professor of management at MIT, and Dale Jorgenson, professor of economics at Harvard University.

2E. Changing Management Needs in the Future of the Pharmaceutical Industry-Charles Cooney, professor of chemical engineering at MIT (chair); Thomas Allen, senior associate dean of the Sloan School of Management; Stan Finkelstein, executive director of the MIT Program on the Pharmaceutical Industry, and Robert Rubin, director of the Center for Experimental Pharmacology and Therapeutics in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.

2F. Supplier Relations in the Aircraft and Auto Industries-Maryellen Kelley, visiting professor in the MIT Industrial Performance Center, and Charles Fine, professor of management (co-chairs), and Joseph Murphy of GE Aircraft Engines.

These discussions are open to members of the Institute community. Those wishing to register should contact the conference coordinator Megan van Frank at or x3-8171 by March 31. (The remaining sessions of the conference are already fully subscribed.)

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 22, 1995.

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