Understanding Alternative Concepts
In the academic study of public service, social and economic development is usually the primary method by which a country, region, community, or an individual’s quality of life is improved based on specific objectives and targets. These objectives and targets are then translated into various programs and initiatives such as development projects, policies, and practices. This then becomes an integrated system that encompasses the entire community with the aim of realizing the desired development goals for the region. It also makes the process more effective by involving the involvement and support of various individuals and groups that have a stake in the development process.
Although many have been involved in the development process over time, the most recent developments in the field of sustainable development are centered on the notion of ‘developmental economics’. This approach believes that development is not simply the pursuit of economic growth but also encompasses the quality of life and the environment in which human development takes place. Sustainable development therefore, seeks to ensure the long-term survival of the human community and promotes economic growth, social progress, and environmental protection through a system of inclusive policies and practices.
The term complex systems has become a popular explanation of human development in the past few decades. Complex systems theory first became prominent during the Second World War when economies were struggling with the breakdown of national structures due to conflict. The theories of complex systems theory hold that humans interact with their environment in a highly complex manner and that economic growth is only one aspect of their interactions. For instance, humans need food, shelter, clothing, and knowledge in order to survive, while their systems also need emotions, safety, and knowledge in order to thrive. According to mainstream economics, all these needs are provided for through the market as well as governmental organizations.
According to complexity theory, development takes place through an intricate and adaptive system of interacting complex adaptive systems. These systems affect each other and cause an overall effect on the overall economy. This theory was first brought to public attention during the Vietnam War when social systems were collapsing due to war. The collapse of such social systems was directly related to the lack of basic necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. The collapse of complex adaptive systems like communities and nations resulted in the decimation of populations and the rise of transnational crime syndicates.
Complex adaptive systems engineering is a branch of development studies that emerged as a response to the Vietnam War. It attempts to understand the role of complex systems in shaping the user needs and organizational behavior. Users need to be provided with goods and services that satisfy their complex adaptive system of systems for them to flourish and prosper. Users will then be able to establish a sense of control over their environments by ensuring that they get what they need, when they need it.
Although concepts of development theory and concepts of social construction have been developed and utilized for decades, the growth of IT infrastructure around the world has only increased the level of relevance of these fields. It is important for professionals who are involved in either research or practice to be aware of different alternatives that they can pursue when pursuing a particular line of work. A diverse set of professionals exist with different skill sets and educational backgrounds, which can be leveraged to develop a successful career. By understanding the different theories of development and the development process, professionals will be better equipped to identify the gaps that they need to bridge in order to fulfill their individual and organizational needs.