The aim of this research has been to use case studies to develop insights and theory into how international aid to small and vulnerable states can best be delivered to achieve the strategic intentions of the parties concerned. The work is intended to improve on the current framework for the planning and management of aid delivery, by extending understanding of aid delivery systems. recognising that development assistance constitutes a strategic intervention in the development process.
n1e research is qualitative and conducted as a series of case studies in selected countries sharing characteristics of smallness and lor vulnerability. The approach to the study is primarily one of making sense of, and improving upon, complex situations (messes). The methodology draws upon, and draws together, Soft Systems Methodology, Grounded Tireory, and the disciplines of Institutional Economics and Development Management, together with the broad operating principles of Action Research. This overall approach is pluralist and integrating, and makes use of that which is usefol in providing insights and understanding.
The approach involves inductive logic initially. allowing theory to emerge from experience in the field. This theory is extended and coupled with the development of a model of aid delivery in a further process of the refinement of ideas, drawing on both Grounded Theory and Soft Systems Methodology. The logic of the thesis then switches predominantly to deduction, as the emergent theory and model are tested against further field experience, to assess the usefitlness of the constrncts. The approach recognises that the01y is never complete and rejects the notion that there can be only one core theme explaining complex phenomena or guiding change for the improvement of complex situations. Tire switch from the inductive logic guiding the experiential and analytical cycles, to a deductive testing phase, allows for the combination of powerful elements of both Grounded Theory and Soft Systems Methodology.
The thesis provides a rich description of aid delivery in agricultural education and extension in Cambodia as an initial basis for the fonnulation of insights into aid delivery. The researc:h is extended to other case studies of aid delivery in Laos, Kiribati and Tuvalu. The cases provide the grounding for the emergence of theory relating to aid delivery and the formulation of a rtwdel of aid delivery systems. The theory and the model are tested and refined in the analysis of further experience of aid delivery in East Timor, Vietnam, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea. The thesis draws heavily on personal experience in the various countries over the period of one decade.
It was found that the key themes emerging from the experience of aid delivery in small and vulnerable countries were the requirement for a strategic orientation for aid delivery, with consideration of a number of issues, clustered under overarching themes relating to differences of world view (divergence of interest, power relationships and conditionality, relationship building, willingness to change, social cohesion and history) and sustainability (capacity building, institutional weaknesses, lack of strategic vision, sacrificing control for sustainability, and the relationship between project structures and institutional strengthening).
It is recommended that the study of aid delivery problems should be undertaken within a framework of management theory, and warrants a new emphasis, away from the conventions of development economics, to the discipline of development management, entailing the whole spectrum of sub-disciplines that constitute the field of management. From a management perspective, the provision of development assistance or foreign aid is a strategic intervention in the development process. Aid is an intenJention in the sense that it represents a deliberate action by one nation to contribute to development in another nation. The interventions are strategic in the sense that they are most effective when applied to the removal of development constraints.
The essential features of aid delivery were identified in this research as dimensions comprising the actors and institutions involved, the scope and history of the intervention, the financing, and content. It is suggested that these dimensions reflect the essential considerations and decisions that are made in the selection and design of an aid delivery mechanism for any particular purpose.
Strategic management places considerable emphasis on the unity of purpose within organisations (development of vision, clear goals and other guidelines). Unity of purpose and common understanding rarely exist across the various actors in the complex aid delivery system, and many elements of the system operate according to differing institutional arrangements. The different actors in the aid delivery system and their differingr ealities impact upon the management of the system and the strategic outcomes.