Building Generative Knowledge and Developing Relationships among 'Unequal' Partners in Local Community Projects in Ecuador
Non-governmental organizations are gradually coming to play an increasing role in developmental projects and organizational psychology is being challenged to contribute to our understanding of the dynamics of inter-party collaboration. This article documents how the stakeholders in a social development project develop meaning through discursive practices, when they define the issues they work on from their own particular perspectives. Development work is pictured in the use of metaphors as being aid, trade, transfer, exchange, etc. through the use of specific forms of thought and language. Each metaphor leads into different meaning configurations and characterizes a specific quality of dialogue. Special attention is paid to the action strategies that allow the 'weaker' parties to remain included in the development project. Discursive practices, metaphors and qualities of dialogue are illustrated for two multi-party projects. These illustrate how a social constructionist reading can reveal and generate discourses that allow the inclusion of weaker parties, in the cases under study, as representatives of the local communities.
Keywords: Multi-party Collaboration, Relational Project Definition, Generative Knowledge, Metaphors in Discourse, Social Construction of Meaning, Quality of Dialogue, Developing Relationships.
Published online: 08 February 2000
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