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Resources 2016, 5(4), 37; doi:10.3390/resources5040037

Comparing Approaches for the Integration of Stakeholder Perspectives in Environmental Decision Making

Climate Policy Group, Department of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), Zurich 8092, Switzerland
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Academic Editor: Damien Giurco
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Difficult Decisions in Disaster Risk and Environmental Management)
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Abstract

Including stakeholder perspectives in environmental decision making is in many countries a legal requirement and is widely seen as beneficial as it can help increase decision legitimacy, likelihood of implementation, and quality of the outcome. Whereas the theoretical literature on stakeholder engagement is large, less attention has been devoted to comparing and discussing different methodological approaches. Here, we compare three approaches—multi-criteria analysis, plural rationality theory, and scenario construction—that include stakeholders’ perspectives in environmental decision making. We find differences between the approaches concerning the assumptions about stakeholder rationality and whether experts and/or stakeholders are in charge of framing the problem. Further differences concern the type of data input from stakeholders and how it is used by the experts, as well as the role of stakeholders and whether they are involved early—already for identifying options—or later in the process, for evaluating or ranking alternatives analyzed by the experts. The choice of approach thus predetermines the type and depth of stakeholder engagement. No approach is “better” than another, but they are suited for different problems and research aims: the choice of the approach, however, has a large impact on the results. View Full-Text
Keywords: multi-criteria analysis; plural rationality theory; scenario analysis; knowledge co-production; stakeholder engagement; participatory processes; environmental decisions multi-criteria analysis; plural rationality theory; scenario analysis; knowledge co-production; stakeholder engagement; participatory processes; environmental decisions
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Scolobig, A.; Lilliestam, J. Comparing Approaches for the Integration of Stakeholder Perspectives in Environmental Decision Making. Resources 2016, 5, 37.

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