Salience, Credibility, Legitimacy and Boundaries: Linking Research, Assessment and Decision Making

25 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2003  

David Cash

Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs

William C. Clark

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Frank Alcock

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Nancy M. Dickson

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Noelle Eckley

Harvard University - Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences

Jill Jäger

Harvard University - Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability (ISTS)

Date Written: November 2002

Abstract

The boundary between science and policy is only one of several boundaries that hinder the linking of scientific and technical information to decision making. Managing boundaries between disciplines, across scales of geography and jurisdiction, and between different forms of knowledge is also often critical to transferring information. The research presented in this paper finds that information requires three (not mutually exclusive) attributes - salience, credibility, and legitimacy - and that what makes boundary crossing difficult is that actors on different sides of a boundary perceive and value salience, credibility, and legitimacy differently. Presenting research on water management regimes in the United States, international agricultural research systems, El Nino forecasting systems in the Pacific and southern Africa, and fisheries in the North Atlantic, this paper explores: 1) how effective boundary work involves creating salient, credible, and legitimate information simultaneously for multiple audiences; 2) the thresholds, complementarities and tradeoffs between salience, credibility, and legitimacy when crossing boundaries; and 3) propositions for institutional mechanisms in boundary organizations which effectively balance tradeoffs, take advantage on complementarities, and reach thresholds of salience, credibility, and legitimacy.

Keywords: Environment and Natural Resources

Suggested Citation

Cash, David and Clark, William C. and Alcock, Frank and Dickson, Nancy M. and Eckley, Noelle and Jäger, Jill, Salience, Credibility, Legitimacy and Boundaries: Linking Research, Assessment and Decision Making (November 2002). KSG Working Papers Series RWP02-046. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=372280 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.372280

David Cash

Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs ( email )

100 Cambridge Street, 9th Floor
Boston, MA 02114
United States

William C. Clark (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-3981 (Phone)
617-495-8963 (Fax)

Frank Alcock

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Nancy M. Dickson

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-9469 (Phone)
617-495-8963 (Fax)

Noelle Eckley

Harvard University - Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences ( email )

Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-384-9244 (Phone)
617-496-0606 (Fax)

Jill Jäger

Harvard University - Initiative on Science and Technology for Sustainability (ISTS)

Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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