Robust Action: Advancing a Distinctive Approach to Grand Challenges

Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Forthcoming

20 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2021 Last revised: 7 Feb 2022

See all articles by Joel Gehman

Joel Gehman

George Washington University - Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy

Dror Etzion

McGill University

Fabrizio Ferraro

IESE Business School

Date Written: February 7, 2022

Abstract

Although management scholars have embraced grand challenges research, in many cases, grand challenges have been treated as merely a context for exploring extant theoretical perspectives. By comparison, our approach—robust action—provides a novel theoretical framework for tackling grand challenges. In this invited article, we revisit our 2015 model, clarifying and elaborating its key elements and taking stock of subsequent developments. We then identify three promising directions for future research: scaffolding, fictional expectations and distributed actorhood. Ultimately, our core message is remarkably simple: robust action strategies—participatory architecture, multivocal inscription and distributed experimentation—jointly provide a means for tackling grand challenges that is well matched to their complexities, uncertainties, and evaluativities.

Keywords: grand challenges, robust action, complexity, uncertainty, evaluativity, sustainability

JEL Classification: D82, D71, F23, M14, O19, Q28, I18, O31, O32

Suggested Citation

Gehman, Joel and Etzion, Dror and Ferraro, Fabrizio, Robust Action: Advancing a Distinctive Approach to Grand Challenges (February 7, 2022). Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3901123

Joel Gehman (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Strategic Management & Public Policy ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

Dror Etzion

McGill University ( email )

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

Fabrizio Ferraro

IESE Business School ( email )

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

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

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