The importance of process in social impact assessment

Ethics, methods and process for cross-cultural engagement

Richard Howitt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


Social impact assessment (SIA) presents an important opportunity to draw cross-cultural encounters arising from project-based development efforts into wider procedures of engagement and negotiation that might address the imbalance in relationships between local communities, project proponents and states. In the SIA literature, however, ethical considerations have received relatively little explicit attention, with greater attention given to outcomes in the form of negotiated agreements and financial and employment results. This paper considers the question of SIA methods from the standpoint of recent Australian national guidelines on ethical engagement with Australian Indigenous people, and argues for much greater attention being given to process and its implications for just and sustainable outcomes in SIA research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalEthics, Place and Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005

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