The phases model of the transformation to sustainability (T2S): structuring through the negotiation perspective

Hernandez, Ariel Macaspac
External Publications (2022)

in: Sustainability (14/9), 5024

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095024
Open access

The complexity of linking sustainability with transformation necessitates a critical re-evaluation of the ways the actors, processes, issues, structures, and outcomes related to the transformation to sustainability (T2S) can be understood. At the same time, achieving T2S is highly dependent on policies based on technical solutions that can prompt needed behavioural change, whereas these technical solutions are not always compatible with both planetary and societal boundaries. Therefore, achieving T2S also calls for evaluating the normative foundations of policies and actions. This paper contends that T2S is significantly defined by the multiplicity of negotiation processes. This justifies a deeper look at T2S from the perspective of negotiation studies. T2S is composed of different phases, each of which has a different set of actors, resources, and audiences. This paper introduces a theoretical model as an analytical meta-framework to structure how T2S unfolds in an orchestrated manner. This model builds on negotiation theories to focus on the actors’ perspectives on T2S. It proposes the division of the transformation process into phases—entry point, learning, sequencing, disrupting, and fortifying. Each of these phases is analysed to determine the “quality” of cooperation that can help fulfil the tasks required to master the so-called “cognitive games” of T2S (ripeness game, power game, bargaining game, policy game, scaling game). Moreover, insights are presented to explain how the designated milestones can be achieved to indicate the advancement to the next phase and eventually entrench the transformation process. The findings resulting from the analysis of the phases of T2S present potential lessons and opportunities for both theorists and practitioners/policymakers

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Hernandez

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