Commenced in January 2007
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Regional Development Programs: A Reason for Them Failing

Authors: Åmo, B.W.


This paper contributes to the analysis of the design of regional development programs. This is a case study the birth, life, death and afterlife of a stately development program in Norway, supporting diffusion of innovations by promoting e-business in SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises).

The study shows that joint projects like regional development programs have to be designed such that the present value of the future benefits always exceeds the present value of the future effort for all stakeholders vital for the survival of the project. The study also indicate that a development program not always have one common goal which all the stakeholders agree upon. There are several stakeholders who may have different goals by playing a part in the realization of the program.

Even if some parties evaluate the results of a development program as a failure, other may have attained their goals. The lessons learned from this study may advise the designers of development programs involving many independent stakeholders. There is a lack of research examining failing development programs, investigating the reasons for it to be considered a failure. This paper shows why a development program was terminated and gives hint to how joint programs could be designed in order for the program to deliver the wanted results to all the key stakeholders.

Keywords: Stakeholders, development program, diffusion of innovations, Regional development initiatives, goal fulfillment, design of development programs

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