Ambiguity in Problem Framing as a Barrier to Collective Actions: Some Hints from Groundwater Protection Policy in the Apulia Region

Raffaele Giordano*, Marcela Brugnach, Irene Pluchinotta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Differences in problem framing and understanding are unavoidable in multi-actor decision-making processes, deeming ambiguous problem definitions and actions. The presence of ambiguity may have diverse implications. On the one hand, a diversity in frames can enhance the co-production of knowledge offering opportunities for innovative solutions. On the other hand, the presence of ambiguity can be a source of discrepancies or conflict in a group, hampering the implementation and/or reducing the effectiveness of environmental policy. This work demonstrates that neglecting ambiguity in problem framing leads decision-actors to simplify the interaction space by ignoring the role of some of the other decision-actors and/or making wrong assumptions about their mental models. Moreover, they act as if the system is as simple as the decision-actors presume it to be. To demonstrate these hypotheses, a Causal Loop Diagram method was implemented to investigate the policy resistance mechanisms hampering the implementation of sustainable groundwater abstraction policy in the Apulia Region (Southern Italy).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-932
Number of pages22
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Ambiguity analysis
  • Causal Loop Diagram
  • Policy analysis
  • Problem framing

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