Inclusiveness in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives

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Inclusiveness in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives

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Title: Inclusiveness in Multi-Stakeholder Initiatives
How should a Multi-Stakeholder Initiative strategically be set up and managed in order to create and enable equality among all participating actors?
Author: Sieck, Sebastian
Abstract: This thesis is a single case study, which utilizes the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) to identify favorable organizational structures and practices for multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs) for creating and enabling equality among the involved actors. An inductive research approach is used to analyze BCI’s organizational structure and practices, who has created sustainability standards for global cotton production, together with the various stakeholder groups of their network. The Actor-Network Theory (ANT), the concept of the ‘plot’, and the concept of framing and overflowing, form the theoretical framework of this research. It is applied in order to analyze and identify how power structures within BCI’s network are identified, how stability is created and maintained, and what framing tools and practices are implemented to manage a large network of diverse actors.In order to answer the research question the set-up phase of BCI is described and analyzed. Additionally, the same approach is conducted towards BCI’s structure, activities, and organizational dynamics of today. The findings are followed by recent literature criticizing MSIs for not having an as inclusive network as they claim – based on dominant power structures existing within MSIs and emphasizing the exclusion of especially ‘vulnerable’ actors within the initiative. The criticism will show that BCI’s structure and various practices contain many characteristics that counteract the criticism and how these structures and practices within MSIs are favorable to lead to equality within its networks. It shows that adaption of the standards to regional circumstances and the cooperation with local partners are of great value in order to establish a network that is able to respond and consequently learn from anticipating and responding to overflows. By doing so it allows the MSI to consider and incorporate multiple perspectives in their standard setting process and their decision making, enabling for a higher degree of equality.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10417/5641
Date: 2016-03-02
Pages: 87 s.
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