Behavioral Factors in Selection of Technologies

by Anne U. White,
Gilbert F. White,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Appropriate Technology in Water Supply and Waste Disposal


Where a well-known technology is provided to a population that has long been acquainted with its use, the problems of predicting patterns of social behavior are relatively simple. The difficulties arise when a new technology is introduced to a population which is not accustomed to it. It is in these circumstances that there are few if any local lessons from the past to apply, so that it becomes important to rely either on comparable experience elsewhere or analysis based on established relationships of human behavior, preference and motivation. In this paper we point out some of the all too abundant evidence that behavior factors may be critical to the success of new water and sanitation installations and to their effects on public health, note those situations in which behavioral factors in fact are critical, suggest some of the circumstances which affect the development of new patterns of behavior, and indicate those situations in which a system of community participation may avoid unnecessary expense or failure.

Subject Headings: Human factors | Social factors | Public health and safety | Population projection | Motivation | Failure analysis

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