Surfers of the ocean waves: Change management, intersectoral migration and the economic development of small island states

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Abstract

This paper argues that there is a need to better acknowledge and problematise the manner in which individuals, households, organisations and governments in small island jurisdictions develop mechanisms that allow them to exploit the benefits, and/or minimise the losses, of episodic economic lurches. A ‘strategic flexibility’ approach is proposed to explain how actors practise intersectoral migration: cleverly shifting focus, interest and scope, not just out of necessity (reactively) but in ‘smelling’ promising opportunities (proactively). In a scenario where change is taken as a given, managing and coping with such change become the hallmarks of economic survival: just like surfers handling the ocean swell.

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