Purpose – The purpose of this study is to focus on the development experience in the global world of two small communities, Viimsi in Estonia and Magog in South Africa. These two communities were chosen as exemplars because the authors were familiar with both, and understood them to be illustrative of differing outcomes of interaction of small communities with the global economy offering the prospect of generalisation of findings to the framework and theory. Twenty years ago, both were poor, since then Viimsi has become wealthy, while Magopa remains poor. It is not believed that becoming the wealthiest community in Estonia was Viimsi’s per-determined destiny. What people of Viimsi did to make their community a success relative to the surrounding peer communities is a story of the visible as much as the invisible attributes. Design/methodology/approach – These attributes are examined using a framework the authors’ originally developed to explore the participation of Indigenous communities in the global economy in pursuit of development as they defined it. A thorough investigation was done on the interactions among various community stakeholder groups in an attempt to describe the social fabric of these two communities, and this was used to explain why Viimsi was able to take advantage of globalisation, when Magopa was not. Findings – While it will be hard, no doubt, to translate all the success attributes of Viimsi to a different location and time, some of the lessons that were uncovered from the study are universal in nature, making them potentially useable for other small communities trying to find their way in the global world. Research limitations/implications – Studying only two communities means that the generalisation of the findings is limited to theory. None can be made directly to the population of similar communities, except indirectly through exploration using the theory being developed to test its validity in other circumstances. Practical implications – The findings from this paper will increase the understanding of the factors that contribute the a community’s success of lack of, in participating in the global economy. Originality/value – This is an under-researched area within development literature.
Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 7, 2014