In want of information: a case study of engineers in the South Pacific



Publication Details

Tibben, W. (1999). In want of information: a case study of engineers in the South Pacific. Prometheus: critical studies in innovation, 17 (4), 421-435.


This paper is primarily concerned with information networks and their significance to the development of technological knowledge in Pacific Island engineers. Essentially, the paper addresses a research agenda outlined by Cooper, who argues that studies of innovation in industrialised countries have relevance to technological capability development in developing countries. More specifically, the paper picks up on the theme of 'technological knowledge development as a communication process' where studies reveal the contribution that communication linkages within and between organisations make towards the development of this form of knowledge. Using Macdonald's 'information perspective' as an analytical tool, the paper identifies a number of organisational-related factors which constrain the access that these engineers have to problem-solving information. The paper argues that the organisation, and the social milieu in which it interacts, is influential in determining access to problem-solving information. This analysis provides support for Cooper's arguments and points to a broader set of challenges than is often accepted in development commentaries: that is, of information being widely available and easy to transport by communication technologies.

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