The Open UniversitySkip to content

Designing stakeholder learning dialogues for effective global governance

Cashore, Benjamin; Bernstein, Steven; Humphreys, David; Visseren-Hamakers, Ingrid and Rietig, Katharine (2019). Designing stakeholder learning dialogues for effective global governance. Policy and Society, 38(1) pp. 118–147.

Full text available as:
PDF (Version of Record) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (2MB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


A growing scholarship on multistakeholder learning dialogues suggests the importance of closely managing learning processes to help stakeholders anticipate which policies are likely to be effective. Much less work has focused on how to manage effective transnational multistakeholder learning dialogues, many of which aim to help address critical global environmental and social problems such as climate change or biodiversity loss. They face three central challenges. First, they rarely shape policies and behaviors directly, but work to ‘nudge’ or ‘tip the scales’ in domestic settings. Second, they run the risk of generating ‘compromise’ approaches incapable of ameliorating the original problem definition for which the dialogue was created. Third, they run the risk of being overly influenced, or captured, by powerful interests whose rationale for participating is to shift problem definitions or narrow instrument choices to those innocuous to their organizational or individual interests. Drawing on policy learning scholarship, we identify a six-stage learning process for anticipating effectiveness designed to minimize these risks while simultaneously fostering innovative approaches for meaningful and longlasting problem solving: Problem definition assessments; Problem framing; Developing coalition membership; Causal framework development; Scoping exercises; Knowledge institutionalization. We also identify six management techniques within each process for engaging transnational dialogues around problem solving. We show that doing so almost always requires anticipating multiple-step causal pathways through which influence of transnational and/or international actors and institutions might occur.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2019 The Authors
ISSN: 1839-3373
Keywords: Multi-stakeholder dialogues; policy learning; transnational global governance; pathways of influence
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies > Geography
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 60316
Depositing User: David Humphreys
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2019 09:09
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 09:43
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU