Network Interaction Patterns within Brazilian ICT4D Initiatives

Fernanda Scur

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    This research examines the communication processes operating within social networks in the context of Brazilian Initiatives focusing on Information and Communication Technologies for Development. Conceptually, the thesis explores three bodies of literature in the Brazilian context: development theory, digital ICT in development practices, and partnership collaboration. It draws on this literature to build a framework to understand the processes involved at the intersection of these three areas, particularly drawing on concepts borrowed from systems (Bateson, 1979; Maturana and Varela, 1992; Luhmann, 1996; Capra and Luisi, 2014) and complex network theories (Granovetter, 1973; Watts and Strogatz, 1998; Barabási, 2003; Benkler, 2006).The main question that the thesis seeks to answer is:

    What role do individual actions play in forwarding or hindering effective collaboration at the unfolding network interaction patterns of ICT4D initiatives?

    Through an explicitly systemic and participatory approach, the thesis focuses on the on-going dialogue among partners in the organizations in which I worked, as well as their interpretation of these processes, through qualitative methods including participant observation, focus-group discussions and individual semi-structured interviews. Proxys for data collection and analysis were derived mainly from three aspects: (1) the network topologies; (2) the communication level; and (3) knowledge production and exchange.
    This research contributes empirically to discussions on the use of systemic approaches and social network mapping methodologies applied to ICT4D partnerships. It concludes by testing such approaches in practice through the suggestion of an adaptable framework for effective collaborative action. This framework accounts for the diversity of contexts and also the small amount of time that ICT4D initiatives usually make available to discuss their partnership mechanisms. The hope is that this will empower practitioners, researchers and decision-makers with knowledge around the emergent networks of the initiatives into which they are inserted, so as to harness their creative potential towards project’s successful outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Royal Holloway, University of London
    • Unwin, Tim, Supervisor
    • Mistry, Jay, Supervisor
    Award date1 Mar 2017
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2017


    • Fernanda Scur
    • Royal Holloway University of London
    • Royal Holloway
    • ICT
    • ICT for Development
    • ICT in Knowledge Management
    • ICTD
    • ICT4D
    • Systems
    • Systems Thinking
    • systems methodologies
    • Network Theory
    • network organizations
    • Networks
    • Brazil
    • communication
    • communications research
    • Information and communication technology;
    • Collaborative learning
    • collaboration
    • effective collaboration
    • action research
    • qualitative research
    • Qualitative methods
    • network topology
    • Knowledge management
    • knowledge production
    • Knowledge sharing
    • knowledge transfer
    • social network analysis
    • SNA
    • social networks
    • ICT4D Partnerships
    • multistakeholder partnerships
    • collaborative action
    • Decision Making
    • Leadership

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