Developing Problem Structuring Capability: A Practice-Based View

  • Katharina BurgerEmail author


The facilitation of multi-stakeholder processes has been a long-standing concern of OR practitioners. However, despite their frequent use in practice, the efficacy of problem structuring interventions (PSIs) in bringing about changes in collective behavior remains contested. Hence, this chapter considers the ongoing challenge of understanding how PSIs facilitate purposeful collective action. Contrary to individualistic and cognition-focused approaches, this chapter advances social practice theory (SPT) as an integrative theoretical perspective for the study of PSIs. Applying SPT to a case study, we consider how interaction in situ may initialize changes to constellations of materials, meanings and competences, i.e. to practices. This leads us to suggest that PSIs may initiate collective behavior changes by creating struggles for the legitimacy of meanings and encouraging the joint modeling of innovative socio-material practice constellations.



This work was supported in part by the EU FP7-ENERGY-SMARTCITIES-2012 (314277) project STEEP (Systems Thinking for Comprehensive City Efficient Energy Planning) and the EPSRC funded Industrial Doctorate Centre in Systems (Grant EP/G037353/1).


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Economics, Finance and ManagementUniversity of BristolBristolUK

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