The natural history of public works development Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/1n79h699s

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  • A case study of the Eugene Water and Electric Board's planning for the Minto Hydroelectric is examined in terms of social movement theory. It is hypothesized that public works projects have a significant likeness to a social movement and they conform in their essential ingredients to social movement explanations. The Minto Project data were scrutinized in terms of the elements of social movement theory developed by C. W. King, a natural history or "careers" theory. Analysis revealed the Minto Project to possess the basis elements of a social movement: goals and means (ideology, group cohesion and tactics). It also possessed the characteristics of a social movement's internal and external dimensions in a highly vulnerable incipient phase of development, with general and vague goals, a nebulous ideology, unclear tactics, strong internal cohesion of some internal groups but little agency-wide cohesion. The Minto Project was overwhelmed and rejected by external factors prior to its internal development into a full and less vulnerable organizational phase. Clear goal formulation and articulation was never achieved, creating a negative external image and the local public's rejection of the project's proposal. A lack of agency-wide cohesion and commitment to the project contributed to its downfall. Tactical blunders in the provision of information and in public meetings also contributed. The plan did not anticipate external consequences of its presentation. It is concluded that the planning of the Minto Hydroelectric Project conformed very closely to a social movement and that its key ingredients are effectively explained by C. W. King's social movement theory. Basic elements were identical. Internal development stages corresponds to planning, construction, and post construction phases of public works projects. External development stages also showed close correspondence, although King's innovation phase did not place sufficient emphasis on first impression factors. Motives, internal and external factors in growth and purposes and consequences also show very close correspondence and explanatory value. It is recommended that planners be very familiar with all laws effecting public works development and devote considerable pre-planning effort to the determination of sound, clear, attainable goals through earliest possible public involvement.
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