Robust Action Strategies for Tackling the World's Grand Challenges

In book: Resilient Systems, Resilient Communities, Chapter: 8, Publisher: Intersections of Sustainability, Editors: Jordan B. Kinder, Makere Stewart-Harawira, pp.180-204, Forthcoming

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2018-902

28 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2018

See all articles by Joel Gehman

Joel Gehman

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Fabrizio Ferraro

IESE Business School

Dror Etzion

McGill University

Date Written: February 24, 2018

Abstract

Organizations are increasingly interested in contributing to so-called grand challenges such as climate change and poverty alleviation. In this chapter, excerpted from "Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited" (Ferraro et al., 2015), we summarize a novel approach to addressing the world's grand challenges based on the sociological concept of robust action. Grounded in prior empirical organizational research, we identify three robust strategies that organizations can employ: participatory architecture, multi-vocal 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. For those readers interested in a fuller exposition, we suggest consulting the original article (Ferraro et al., 2015) as well as a companion article that examined the relevance of robust action strategies in three sustainability related contexts and compared our theory of robust action strategies with alternative management approaches (Etzion et al., 2017).

Keywords: robust action, complexity, uncertainty, evaluativity

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

Suggested Citation

Gehman, Joel and Ferraro, Fabrizio and Etzion, Dror, Robust Action Strategies for Tackling the World's Grand Challenges (February 24, 2018). In book: Resilient Systems, Resilient Communities, Chapter: 8, Publisher: Intersections of Sustainability, Editors: Jordan B. Kinder, Makere Stewart-Harawira, pp.180-204, Forthcoming; University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2018-902. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3129512

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

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

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