Using dialogue and negotiation

It is increasingly argued that preferences and values for complex goods such as ecosystem services are not pre-formed but need to be generated through a process of deliberation and learning (Kenter et al. 2016). [Photo: Milford Track – Will Allen]
Solving problems associated with sustainable development is not just about changing the behaviour of individual actors, businesses and communities, but about seeking new ways of thinking about systems, neighbours and holistic planning. While individual stakeholders may make the ultimate decisions on-the-ground, others play an active role in creating the context that enables (or inhibits) sustainable development. Consequently, sustainable development extension is about engaging stakeholders (including national and regional agencies and government, science, business, and the requisite public interest groups) in the process of learning and adaptive management and about negotiating how to move forward in a complex world, where we do not have all the information. This engagement is important because when considering complex and often unfamiliar goods (e.g. ecosystem services), our community and individual preferences and values can be thought of as emergent – needing to be formed through some sort of deliberation and learning process. Key to this move is the development of platforms for dialogue and negotiation to occur between and across different stakeholder groups. The links below are concerned with improving opportunities and techniques for dialogic interaction. For more intractable cases a subsequent page provides links to material which can help with conflict management.

Dialogic approaches


The Deliberative Value Formulation model
Jasper Kenter, Mark Reed, Ioan Fazey (2016) Ecosystem Services
This paper presents the Deliberative Value Formation (DVF) model, a new theoretical model for deliberative valuation informed by social-psychological theory. The DVF provides a theoretical and methodological framework for more rigorous monetary and non-monetarydeliberative valuation, and enables more effective integration of social learning and plural knowledges and values in valuation and decision-making. It also conceptualises how values may be formed by‘translating’transcendental values, our principles and life goals, into more specific contextual values. The paper uses this basis for a six-step template for designing deliberative valuation processes.


Stakeholder Dialogues manual
Petra Künkel and colleagues (2011) Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
This text is based on a workshop series held by the Collective Leadership Institute (CLI) entitled Working with Stakeholder Dialogues — Key Concepts and Competencies for Achieving Common Goals. To implement stakeholder dialogues for results, effective project management must be underpinned by extensive methodological knowledge. The manual shows the key methods and tools of the stakeholder dialogue approach.


Stakeholder dialogues: A way to engage stakeholders for sustainability
Jade Buddenberg (2014) Open Citizenship
The question of how to make dialogue successful and fruitful is as old as humankind. Dialogue is an art of talking together that enables a flow of meaning among people. It is, then, the “art of thinking together” in a way that leads to progress through understanding differences, enacting respect and contributing. People who have experienced dialogue often feel that they have rediscovered a part that seemed lost in their day-to-day conversations, a part that is absent from most of conversations during meetings, conferences, and workshops. Ideally, dialogue enables people to bring out differences and to fill them with both meaning and purpose. Dialogue thus fosters a way of thinking and reflecting together that allows inquiry in a setting where tension and conflict can be explored.


Learning together to manage together
This 2005 book is an output from the EC-funded project – Harmonizing collaborative planning. It outlines how to operationalise social learning for water management issues, highlighting that social learning is based on dialogue. It sets out to explain why it makes more sense to be more ambitious with participatory process than just informing and consulting. It also helps outline the know how required for a successful social learning process.


Expressive lives
This Demos publication is a collection of essays that examine the idea of ‘expressive life’, and is edited by Samuel Jones. It helps us to see creativity and heritage as the fabric of our society that gives meaning and value to our lives. Contributors from across the creative and cultural sectors look at the effects of changes in people’s behaviour towards cultural institutions, developments in technology and the global exchange of different attitudes and beliefs. These combine with political uncertainty and economic upheaval to put culture and creativity at the heart of debate about the future of our communities and international relations.’


From dialogue to engagement? Learning beyond cases
This 2005 New Zealand report draws lessons across four independent pilot projects designed to trial and review approaches to science-initiated dialogue in four distinct contexts. The report identifies the benefits from good dialogue between science and its publics, the factors that contribute to good dialogue, the key capacities need for dialogue, and the implications for science.


Involving the public in science and technology decision-making: A review of national and international initiatives
This 2003 New Zealand report looks at the need for dialogue between science and its publics. It provides a review of international initiatives in this area, addresses the issues for dialogue between Maori and science, and finally discusses dialogue in the context of sustainability and ‘sustainability science’.


Mapping dialogue: a research project profiling dialogue tools and processes for social change
This 2006 manual profiles a number of methods for facilitating dialogue. Ten such methods are profiled in depth and a number of others more briefly. Some are designed for small groups of 20 people, some can accommodate up to 5000 in dialogue at the same time. Some focus on exploring and resolving conflict and differences, while others emphasise looking first to what is working and agreed upon. The manual is divided into three sections: Foundations; Toolkit; and Method choice. This manual has been developed jointly by Pioneers for Change South Africa and Deutsche Gessellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ).


Deliberative Dialogue to Expand Civic Engagement: What Kind of Talk Does Democracy Need?
This paper by Martha McCoy and Patrick Scully brings ideas and insights from their work in communities to answer the question, “What kind of public talk is most likely to expand civic engagement and make it meaningful to all sorts of people?” Their paper aims be useful not only to anyone using deliberation and dialogue for civic engagement but also to those using other kinds of civic engagement processes. Our goal is to make transparent our assumptions and working principles for effective civic engagement. By describing what we are learning, we hope to spark a larger and more comprehensive conversation among theorists and practitioners about the connection of deliberative dialogue to some of the key goals and questions of the civic movement.


Photovoice: Social change through photography
Photovoice is a process by which people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique. It entrusts cameras to the hands of people to enable them to act as recorders, and potential catalysts for social action and change, in their own communities. It uses the immediacy of the visual image and accompanying stories to furnish evidence and to promote an effective, participatory means of sharing expertise to create healthful public policy. Photovoice has three goals. It enables people to record and reflect their community’s strengths and problems. It promotes dialogue about important issues through group discussion and photographs. Finally, it engages policymakers.


Other related approaches on other pages on this site include the use of models to facilitate dialogue, managing conflict, and developing new networks to support dialogue  among new groupings.

Share