identifying the strategic linkages between a proposed project and specific social groups inthe project’s environment. The outcome is more likely to lead to a project that is respon-sive to needs, and less likely to lead to unanticipated conflicts.The conceptual approach to project planning implicit in the technique is presentedbriefly in Section II. Section III presents the SIAM method and illustrates it with anapplication to the planning of a smelter project. A preliminary summary of the techniqueis provided in the next subsection, with more detailed development given in Section III.
SIAM: A PRELIMINARY SUMMARY
A public agency is considering support for a smelter intended to provide a basis forthe development of a given region. Support for the smelter project requires an assessmentof its potential viability. This may involve an assessment of the project’s economicviability-as measured in terms of social benefits and costs-and even more fundamen-tally, an assessment of its strategic viability. The latter involves sociopolitical considera-tions that are not considered in conventional economic analysis, yet are implicit in suchanalysis and condition its results.A development project embodies certain expectations about the present and futurebehavior of particular interests linked to the project, such as suppliers, workers, effectedcommunities, and so on. These implicit assumptions are embedded in the technical designand in the projected impacts, including the estimated benefits. The success of the projecthinges on the validity and stability of these assumptions over time.SIAM is a systematic procedure for identifying critical strategic issues that must beconsidered before binding commitments are taken, for example, to support the smelterproject. It guides the analyst in considering a larger number and more specific types ofsocial groups than traditional categories such as “user,” “non-user,” “region,” and “restof society.” It requires a broadening of the concept of project, and correspondingly, of theconsideration of groups who may affect or be affected by project planning and implemen-tation. The purpose is to identify the critical assumptions about these groups implicit inthe project design and (if undertaken) in its economic assessment.In general, SIAM addresses the following types of questions:
What are the real boundaries of the proposed project as implied by its inputs andoutputs?. Given the above, which are the social groups to be effected by and/or likely toeffect the proposed project either directly or indirectly?
What are the assumptions about the existing and future behavior and preferences ofthese groups on which project design and/or expected benefits are based?
Which groups perceive decreases (increases) in net benefits as a consequence of theproject?
What specific project consequences and therefore associated design characteristicsare likely to lead to conflict? With whom? For what reasons?
Can project design be modified to account for differing needs and preferences notpresently accommodated? How? At what cost? (And/or) can preferences and be-haviors of relevant groups be influenced? How? At what cost?Projects, including those with a high economic rate of return or extensive expectedbenefits, may encounter serious problems in implementation if the assessment processfails to address such questions.The inputs to SIAM include data on the technical, financial, and economic dimen-sions of a proposed project, and the perceived, revealed, or projected preferences and