Overcoming multi-stakeholder fragmented narratives in land use, woodland and forestry policy : the role scenario planning and 'dissociative jolts

Burt, George and Mackay, David and Mendibil, Kepa (2021) Overcoming multi-stakeholder fragmented narratives in land use, woodland and forestry policy : the role scenario planning and 'dissociative jolts. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 166. 120663. ISSN 0040-1625

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    Abstract

    Land use, woodland and forestry policy continues to evolve in response to unfolding economic, social and environmental challenges and opportunities. Concerns about integration across the stakeholder landscape impacting delivery and implementation of policy are common. Competing public and private sector stakeholder goals, narratives and actions are problematic. Developing insights from a recent case study, we uncover fragmentation in narratives, tensions in priorities, and misunderstandings at multiple levels between stakeholders. We identify the corrective influence of ‘dissociative jolts’ to trigger stakeholder’s self-realisation of the extent of their unintentionally diverse interpretations of policy. These ‘dissociative jolts’ moments triggered open discussion, debate and reflexive questioning by the participants, enabling them to constructively contest their differences. In doing so, the participants were able to challenge and deconstruct their assumptions, reconstruct and develop new, shared understanding without trauma or denial. The structured mechanisms and formalisms of the intuitive-logics scenario planning approach provided a psychologically safe space with openness and equality of input to surface, explore, question and defragment stakeholder assumptions and narratives. The outcome of this defragmentation process was the collective recognition of failure, if the situation did not change, the dissolution of observed tensions conflicts and dilemmas, and the negotiated agreement for future action by the diverse stakeholder group.