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How to use ambiguity in problem framing for enabling divergent thinking: Integrating problem structuring methods and concept-knowledge theory

Giordano, R; Pluchinotta, I; Zikos, D; Krueger, T; Tsoukiàs, A; (2019) How to use ambiguity in problem framing for enabling divergent thinking: Integrating problem structuring methods and concept-knowledge theory. In: White, L and Kunc, M and Burger, K and Malpass, J, (eds.) Behavioral Operational Research: A Capabilities Approach. (pp. 93-117). Springer: Cham, Switzerland. Green open access

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Abstract

Collective behaviors and participatory models could be hampered by the presence of ambiguity that reflects the multiplicity of interpretations that different actors bring to a modeling exercise. Despite commonly overlooked in modeling, how ambiguity in subjective problem frames is embraced determines the quality of the participatory modeling process. This work describes an innovative approach based on the integration of Problem Structuring Methods, specifically Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM), and Concept-Knowledge (C-K) design theory, as a means to transform ambiguity from a barrier to an enabling factor of divergent thinking in participatory modeling. The integration of methods allows to identify and analyze ambiguity in problem framing, avoiding viewpoints’ polarization that hampers the development of collective behaviors. However, individualistic problem frames can still yield organized collective actions when these frames are sufficiently aligned. Often environmental policies fail because decision-makers are not aware of the misalignment and their decisions are based on wrong assumptions about the others’ problem frames. This work discusses the results of two case studies aimed to design environmental policies for groundwater protection in Kokkinochoria area (Republic of Cyprus) and Apulia Region (South-East Italy), demonstrating the potential of FCM and C-K theory integration in supporting divergent thinking in participatory modeling.

Type: Book chapter
Title: How to use ambiguity in problem framing for enabling divergent thinking: Integrating problem structuring methods and concept-knowledge theory
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-25405-6_6
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-25405-6_6
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10119328
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