Dynamics of the room: expert wrangling in the process of standard formation

Jan Hayes, Sarah Maslen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines the dynamics of expert collaboration in industry standard development. The use of expert committees in the development of standards is common practice, and yet the operation of such groups tends to be a “black box.” Based on participant observation and interviews with committee participants, we examine the group dynamics within the subcommittee involved in a major update to one part of the Australian Standard for pipeline engineering, and the skills required of the Chair to obtain the best outcome. We address how the expert group is built, how the Chair leads them to a negotiated outcome, and how the Standard becomes socialized into the public domain. Agreement comes slowly, with some picking their battles, but many others repeatedly putting forward their views. The Chair exhibits three types of expertise (contributory, interactional, decision-making) which together are critical to resolving debates and, in effect, agreeing on the collective wisdom of the group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironment Systems and Decisions
Publication statusPublished - 27 Oct 2023


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