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
Date Written: February 7, 2022
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: Suggested Citation