Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited

55 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2014 Last revised: 18 Nov 2015

See all articles by Fabrizio Ferraro

Fabrizio Ferraro

IESE Business School

Dror Etzion

McGill University

Joel Gehman

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Date Written: October 22, 2014

Abstract

In this paper, we theorize a novel approach to addressing the world‘s grand challenges based on the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism and the sociological concept of robust action. Grounded in prior empirical organizational research, we identify three robust strategies that organizations can employ in tackling issues such as climate change and poverty alleviation: participatory architecture, multivocal inscriptions and distributed experimentation. We demonstrate how these strategies operate, the manner in which they are linked, the outcomes they generate, and why they are applicable for resolving grand challenges. We conclude by discussing our contributions to research on robust action and grand challenges, as well as some implications for research on stakeholder theory, institutional theory and theories of valuation.

Keywords: robust action, complexity, uncertainty, evaluativity, pragmatism

JEL Classification: D7, D8, I18, I3, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Ferraro, Fabrizio and Etzion, Dror and Gehman, Joel, Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited (October 22, 2014). Organization Studies, March 2015; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2015-903. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2516763

Fabrizio Ferraro

IESE Business School ( email )

AV.da Pearson 21
Barcelona, 08034
Spain
932534200 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://blog.iese.edu/ferraro/

Dror Etzion

McGill University ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. W
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1G5
Canada

Joel Gehman (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
(780) 248-5855 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.joelgehman.com

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