All expert knowledge contains similar beliefs, heuristics and paradigms than those embodied in technology. Irrespective of particular experts, a technology could allow a prediction of the obstacles foreign experts will find. However, this is impossible to even start since we know so little about the human side of technology, and neither historical changes nor diffusion help. Kenyan technicians are better at aircraft maintenance than road maintenance, as A.O. Hirschman famously commented when he heard someone exotise or essentialise.
Since 1990, following David Korten’s work, ‘process documentation research’ or ‘process research’ is applied in many development organizations. I show such process research to reveal sociocultural dimensions of technology and the results in the same fields (SMEs, irrigation, public utilities, agro-industry, etc.) to be comparable.
Sociotechnical aggregation and process research
Although relations between experts are their direct product, these are contingent on social processes that also use technologies to evolve. I seek ways to change this contingency. What goes on in a project arena reflects all possible levels, from intra-personal to global and universal.
Expert interaction and social process
My preferred advice on expert relations:
define sociotechnical aggregation and respective social processes in a sector or organizational field
distinguish individual expert influence from context constraints/autonomy
suggest team parameter, sequence of expertise and products
Mosse, Farrington and Rew 1998, Development as Process: concepts and methods for working with complexity, London: Routledge.