The Tennessee Valley Authority Experience

Knop, H. (1976). The Tennessee Valley Authority Experience. IIASA Collaborative Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: CP-76-002

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The choice of the Tennessee Valley Authority as the subject for the first IIASA Conference on the experience of large-scale planning projects may appear to be somewhat surprising. The TVA has been controlling rivers and generating electric power over a vast area of the southeastern United States for nearly forty years. So much has been written about the TVA that one might suppose there was little left to discuss.

As it turned out, however, the experience of the TVA was an ideal subject for systems analysis, one aspect that has received relatively little attention. As Project Leader of the Planning and Management in Large Organizations Group, I was pleased with the selection of the TVA rather than some similar large organization recently completed or in the development stage. It is usually difficult to get enough accurate information about a new organization. For one thing, it is likely to be in a state of flux: what was true yesterday may be no longer true tomorrow. Furthermore, to discuss matters fully and frankly for fear they may reveal secrets or expose themselves to criticism for some aspects that have not been thoroughly worked out.

As the reader reviews the proceedings of this Conference, he will find that the TVA was indeed candid in its representation of the methods and activities being pursued, and was also entirely willing to discuss its weaknesses and shortcomings.

We found the TVA to be a dynamic organization, responsive to change while still maintaining its basic philosophy of improving the living standards for the people of the region through a program of integrated regional development. The task has not yet been fully completed, but the progress of the last forty years represents a significant achievement for the TVA.

The present two volumes mark the first case study of large-scale planning projects. This work will be followed up by a similar Conference dealing with the Bratsk-Ilimsk Experience in the Siberian Region of the Soviet Union, the Lublin Development Project of Poland, the Shinkansun Program in Japan, and other projects as they become identified. It is intended that comparisons and generalizations can be made which would aid the National Member Organizations of IIASA and the scientific world in general in developing effective management techniques for similar cases.

The TVA presentations are printed in the form they were actually prepared in. IIASA has not attempted to edit them, and they have been published here as received from the TVA. This procedure has resulted in variations in the quality of print and type. We sincerely apologize for this inconvenience and hope that this does not present any problems.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Collaborative Paper)
Research Programs: Management and Technology Area (MMT)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:43
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:08

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