Paper info: THE STRENGTH OF STRONG TIES: CAREER NEWORKS IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
THE STRENGTH OF STRONG TIES: CAREER NEWORKS IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
University of New South Wales
Place of Publication
The paper was published at the 24th IMP-conference in Uppsala, Sweden in 2008.
The role of networks in the international development project sector has been identified from the perspective of seller-buyer/client relationships. In this paper, we extend the exploration of such networks to include what we term as a career network in which external specialist consultants - independent of the supplier or client -have the power to exert considerable influence over international project outcomes and interaction between the various parties involved in the project, through their own professional expertise and personal connections. Based on an exploratory interview study of IDP external consultants, we draw on career and networks literature to explain how these key individuals forge strong actor bonds with each other with key actors in other parts of the IDP network that bind them together. The career network in which they are embedded is a valued - even vital - shared resource on which they livelihoods depend. Resource ties therefore reinforce the actor bonds to build and maintain a strong career network. Our data suggests that IDP career networks may prove to be more stable and more enduring than those between organizations thus demonstrating the strength of strong ties.