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Analytic and Dynamic Approach to Collaboration: A Transdisciplinary Case Study on Sustainable Landscape Development in a Swiss Prealpine Region


The involvement of stakeholders and the public in societal decision processes has lately received increased attention. We suggest that appropriate and tailored techniques should be selected and integrated to provide the prerequisites for inclusive involvement depending on the issue, type, goals and phase of the decision process in question, i.e. an analytic, systematic and dynamic approach to collaboration. In a transdisciplinary case study design we integrate diverse analytical methods whereby a process of mutual learning between science and people from outside academia is strived for. Our framework for collaboration is illustrated by a case study on sustainable landscape development in the Swiss prealpine region of Appenzell Ausserrhoden.

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Fig. 1


  1. 1.

    We follow Chilvers (2007) in distinguishing between stakeholders, who represent interests of groups and publics, who represent primarily themselves but are potentially representative of different societal groups (see as well Pahl-Wostl 2002).

  2. 2.

    We are thankful to an anonymous reviewer for this idea.

  3. 3.

    low: open response mode, unstructured aggregation of information; medium: either closed response mode or structured aggregation; high: closed response mode and structured aggregation (based on Newig et al. this issue).


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We thank the participants of the workshop “Formalised and Non-Formalised Methods in Resource Management—Knowledge and Learning in Participatory Processes” in Osnabrück, and especially Claudia Pahl-Wostl, Jens Newig and the anonymous reviewer for their valuable comments to earlier versions of this paper. We are grateful to Sebastian Helgenberger for his collection of verbatim statements gathered in his diploma thesis (Helgenberger 2006; see as well Walter et al. 2007).

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Correspondence to Michael Stauffacher.

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Stauffacher, M., Flüeler, T., Krütli, P. et al. Analytic and Dynamic Approach to Collaboration: A Transdisciplinary Case Study on Sustainable Landscape Development in a Swiss Prealpine Region. Syst Pract Action Res 21, 409–422 (2008).

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  • Societal decision process
  • Involvement of stakeholders and the public
  • Collaboration
  • Transdisciplinary case study design
  • Sustainable development