Choice, Values and Building Capability: A Case Study from Vietnam

Paddy O’Toole, Mark Staniforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Capability building enables people, groups, organisations and nations to achieve a greater range of activities. A program of capability building activities in Vietnam over the past decade provides the case study for this paper. From these activities and the progress of the program we have constructed an explicit approach of capability building that deals with maritime archaeology and underwater cultural heritage. The aim of this paper is to explain how the elements of our value-based approach interact to establish and enhance capability through knowledge capital development. Our notion of capability building is based on a programme taking place over an extended period of time. The extended time period is necessary to achieve long-term change or at least critical reflection on the part of the host organisation. This process causes a direct exposure to the ethical and disciplinary tenets of maritime archaeology on the part of the host organisation, but some initial congruence of values is considered critical in order to achieve effective outcomes. The program is based on principles of commitment to empowerment, participative learning, learning reinforcement mechanisms, and intensive communication with the stakeholders of the host organisation. We argue that training alone does not work and so the approach underlying the programme encompasses an integrated approach by supplementing training in a variety of forms with advice, mentoring, academic research and cultural heritage management-based approaches to help answer specific problems faced by the host organisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-368
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Maritime Archaeology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2019


  • Capability building
  • Maritime archaeology
  • Vietnam


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