Tackling Grand Challenges Pragmatically: Robust Action Revisited

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Authors: Fabrizio Ferraro, Dror Etzion and Joel Gehman

Publication: Organization Studies

Abstract:

In this article, we theorize a novel approach to addressing the world’s grand challenges based on the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism and the sociological concept of robust action. Grounded in prior empirical organizational research, we identify three robust strategies that organizations can employ in tackling issues such as climate change and poverty alleviation: participatory architecture, multivocal inscriptions and distributed experimentation. We demonstrate how these strategies operate, the manner in which they are linked, the outcomes they generate, and why they are applicable for resolving grand challenges. We conclude by discussing our contributions to research on robust action and grand challenges, as well as some implications for research on stakeholder theory, institutional theory and theories of valuation. 

Read full paper: Sage Publishing, March 11, 2015