Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    We will mail you new results for this query: keywords==Wicked problems
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Harnessing Wicked Problems in Multi-stakeholder Partnerships
Dentoni, Domenico ; Bitzer, Verena ; Schouten, Greetje - \ 2018
Journal of Business Ethics 150 (2018)2. - ISSN 0167-4544 - p. 333 - 356.
Cross-sector partnerships - Governance processes - Multi-stakeholder partnerships - Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) - Systemic change - Wicked problems
Despite the burgeoning literature on the governance and impact of cross-sector partnerships in the past two decades, the debate on how and when these collaborative arrangements address globally relevant problems and contribute to systemic change remains open. Building upon the notion of wicked problems and the literature on governing such wicked problems, this paper defines harnessing problems in multi-stakeholder partnerships (MSPs) as the approach of taking into account the nature of the problem and of organizing governance processes accordingly. The paper develops an innovative analytical framework that conceptualizes MSPs in terms of three governance processes (deliberation, decision-making and enforcement) harnessing three key dimensions of wicked problems (knowledge uncertainty, value conflict and dynamic complexity). The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil provides an illustrative case study on how this analytical framework describes and explains organizational change in partnerships from a problem-based perspective. The framework can be used to better understand and predict the complex relationships between MSP governance processes, systemic change and societal problems, but also as a guiding tool in (re-)organizing governance processes to continuously re-assess the problems over time and address them accordingly.
Innovation systems for transformations towards sustainability? Taking the normative dimension seriously
Schlaile, Michael P. ; Urmetzer, Sophie ; Blok, Vincent ; Andersen, Allan Dahl ; Timmermans, Job ; Mueller, Matthias ; Fagerberg, Jan ; Pyka, Andreas - \ 2017
Sustainability 9 (2017)12. - ISSN 2071-1050
Dedicated innovation systems - Directionality - Innovation systems - Legitimacy - Normativity - Paradigms - Responsibility - Transformations towards sustainability - Wicked problems
The aim of this article is to complement research on transformations towards sustainability by drawing upon the innovation systems (IS) framework. The IS framework already serves as a suitable and influential basis for research on processes of technological innovation and economic change. We argue that improving the capacity of an IS framework for dealing with wicked problems and the normative complexity of sustainability requires a fundamental paradigm shift because in the current IS paradigm innovations are considered as per se desirable and in mostly technological terms. Therefore, we call for IS dedicated to transformations towards sustainability by opening up for systemic innovations beyond the technological dimension and by acknowledging that stakeholders have conflicting visions, interests, norms, and expectations with regard to sustainability goals. Taking the normative dimension of transformations towards sustainability seriously thus requires more explicit and integrative research on directionality, legitimacy, responsibility, and their interrelation in IS. The article concludes by proposing suggestions for future research based on IS-related approaches that can serve as building blocks for an IS framework capable of incorporating legitimate goal-orientation for transformative innovation by and for society.
Coping with the wicked problem of climate adaptation across scales : The Five R Governance Capabilities
Termeer, C.J.A.M. ; Dewulf, A. ; Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I. ; Vink, M. ; Vliet, M. van - \ 2016
Landscape and Urban Planning 154 (2016). - ISSN 0169-2046 - p. 11 - 19.
Adaptation to climate change - Enabling institutions - Governance capabilities - Governance strategies - Social-ecological systems - Wicked problems

Adapting social-ecological systems to the projected effects of climate change is not only a complex technical matter but above all a demanding governance issue. As climate change has all the characteristics of a wicked problem, conventional strategies of governance do not seem to work. However, most conventional governance institutions are poorly equipped to enable, or at least tolerate, innovative strategies. This paper analyses the various strategies used to cope with the wicked problem of climate adaptation across scales, and the institutional conditions that enable or constrain such strategies. For this, it relies on a theoretical framework consisting of five governance capabilities that are considered crucial for coping with wicked problems: reflexivity, resilience, responsiveness, revitalization and rescaling. This framework is used to analyse the governance of adaptation to climate change at three different levels: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its activities to assist adaptation; the European Union and its climate adaptation strategy; and the Netherlands and its Delta Program. The results show that conventional governance strategies are rather absent and that mixtures of reflexive, resilient, responsive, revitalizing and rescaling strategies were visible at all levels, although not equally well developed and important. In contrast to the literature, we found many examples of enabling institutional conditions. The constraining conditions, which were also present, tend to lead more to postponement than to obstruction of decision-making processes.

The role(s) of universities in dealing with global wicked problems through multi-stakeholder initiatives
Dentoni, D. ; Bitzer, V.C. - \ 2015
Journal of Cleaner Production 106 (2015). - ISSN 0959-6526 - p. 68 - 78.
Universities - Multi-stakeholder initiatives - Cross-sector collaboration - Sustainable development - Wicked problems
Multi-stakeholder initiatives have emerged as collaborative partnerships to deal with wicked problems, particularly in the global food system. This article analyzes the role that academics play in these initiatives at a global level, and the nature of their participation. Based on a qualitative analysis supported by a database of 41 multi-stakeholder initiatives in the global agriculture and food sector and 51 interviews with their participants, this research identifies five key roles that academics play in multi-stakeholder initiatives and in communities of practice around them. In multi-stakeholder initiatives, academics act as knowledge experts, agenda-setting advisors and facilitators. In communities of practice, academics develop new knowledge on multi-stakeholder initiatives by theorizing from their observation and reflection and they build international bridges between students and multi-stakeholder initiatives. The results imply that academics engaging in multi-stakeholder initiatives that deal with global wicked problems can choose multiple paths to align their societal mission of co-creating sustainability with the broader organizational goals of their universities.
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