The Objectives of Stakeholder Involvement in Transdisciplinary Research. A Conceptual Framework for a Reflective and Reflexive Practise

Schmidt, L and Falk, T and Siegmund-Schultze, M and Spangenberg, J H (2020) The Objectives of Stakeholder Involvement in Transdisciplinary Research. A Conceptual Framework for a Reflective and Reflexive Practise. Ecological Economics (TSI), 176 (106751). pp. 1-9. ISSN 0921-8009

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Transdisciplinary research is a well-recognised approach to address complex real-world problems. However, the literature on a central aspect of transdisciplinarity, namely stakeholder involvement, largely lacks a reflection on its objectives. In response, we present a framework defining four general rationales for stakeholder involvement: normative, substantive, social-learning, and implementation objectives. We demonstrate the applicability of the framework and analyse how the design and processes of three collaborative research projects dealing with sustainable land management in Southern Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America were affected by motivations to include stakeholders. Our assessment indicates that at the projects' outset, many scientists pursued a normative rationale and saw stakeholder involvement as a burden. In the course of the projects, the substantive objective became more relevant as being closely linked to the core mandate of scientists. The projects also aimed for social learning and implementation processes, which, however, did not remain uncontested among team members. Overall, our study indicates that jointly negotiating, clarifying, communicating, and reflecting the underlying objectives of stakeholder involvement can help developing more effective interaction strategies and clarifying expectations. The conceptual framework can guide a systematic reflective and reflexive practise and support the planning and co-designing of future transdisciplinary research projects.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Research Program : Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD)
CRP: CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals (GLDC)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Stakeholder involvement, Participatory approaches, Research project design, Sustainable land management
Subjects: Others > Participatory Modeling
Depositing User: Mr Arun S
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2020 05:48
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2020 05:48
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Acknowledgement: The transdisciplinary research projects INNOVATE (01LL0904A- 01LL0904E), LEGATO (01LL0917A-01LL0917O), and TFO (01LL0912A, D, E, F, G H, J, M) were funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the Sustainable Land Management programme. In the case of INNOVATE, the Brazilian counterparts entered with their own funds. The paper has been written with support of the CGIAR Research Program Grain Legumes and Dryland Cereals. We would like to thank all our German and non- German partners for their contributions and discussion about the projects' transdisciplinary approaches. The authors are grateful to three anonymous reviewers whose knowledgeable and constructive commentaries helped to improve the initial version of the paper.
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