Julia Gluesing is a business and organizational anthropologist and Research Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Wayne State University.
Ken Riopelle is an educator, entrepreneur, management consultant and Research Professor at Wayne State University. His professional career spans over 40 years in both the auto industry and academia.
The purpose of this lecture is to report on and discuss a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) study regarding the integration of research methods to investigate Environmental Governance in Multi-Stakeholder Contexts (see for details the Award Abstract).
Most studies of “participatory” environmental governance have focused their analysis primarily on one of two decision-making contexts: either the stakeholder meetings where actual decisions are negotiated or the broader interactions among networks of stakeholders that influence those meeting decisions. Yet on their own, each of these approaches has serious limitations. Putting the spotlight on stakeholder meetings may hide the significance of negotiations that take place outside the meetings. Focusing on broader interactions among stakeholder networks may hide the agency of meeting participants in negotiating decision outcomes in the meetings, and the ways in which meeting negotiations are constrained by cultural ideologies of interaction.
It is important to integrate the examination of meetings and broader stakeholder interactions because that is a closer approximation of the messy, complex reality of decision-making on the ground. In actual practice, most members of environmental governance committees are influenced by interactions with their social networks, and such interactions include email and the use of social media.
By integrating the analysis of five information sources - newspaper articles, blog, email, meeting minutes, and ordinances - this study breaks new methodological ground to expand the boundaries of previous research designs.