The facilitation of multi-stakeholder collaboration addressing wicked problems confronting business : identifying competencies of multi-stakeholder collaboration facilitators

Mills, Carien (2018-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Complex-adaptive challenges, known as wicked problems, are increasingly threatening economic, societal and ecological resilience. Businesses both contribute to and are affected by many wicked problems on a daily basis. Organisations cannot in isolation address wicked problems, resulting in calls for cross-sectoral collaboration. Prior research has established that collaborative multi-stakeholder processes can achieve collaborative advantage for participating stakeholders and society at large. However, less research has been conducted on how such collaborative processes can be facilitated and what competencies are required of a facilitator of such processes. My research sought to identify the competencies of a facilitator of multi-stakeholder collaboration processes addressing wicked problems. I adopted a qualitative research approach applying grounded theory principles, informed by an interpretivist-constructionist research paradigm to answer my research questions. I gathered data through semi-structured interviews with experienced facilitators and drew on a literature study to compare and affirm interview findings against, as well as to identify other knowledge gaps. I established that the facilitation processes consist of a primary and secondary process that is cumulatively best represented by Theory U’s five-phases. Stakeholders, the facilitator and the process pose numerous risks to the successful outcomes of a collaborative process, but the risks are likely to vary subject to the problem domain context and the relevant stakeholders. I identified design, container building and holding, intentional communication, self-awareness, and capacitation as five key facilitator competencies, together with the underlying knowledge, skills, aptitudes and character traits that constitute these. Further research can be conducted to affirm and substantiate the competencies identified together with exploring the mechanisms by which such competencies can be developed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Kompleks-aanpasbare uitdagings, beter bekend as “bose” probleme, bedreig toenemend ekonomiese, gemeenskaps-, en ekologiese aanpasbaarheid. Besighede dra by tot en word daagliks deur hierdie bose probleme geraak. Organisasies kan nie in afsondering hierdie bose probleme aanspreek nie, wat lei tot versoeke vir intersektorale samewerking. Bestaande navorsing het vasgestel dat samewerkende multi-belanghebbende prosesse samewerkende voordeel vir deelnemende belanghebbendes en die samelewing as geheel kan inhou. Daar is egter baie min navorsing gedoen oor hoe sulke samewerkingsprosesse gefasiliteer kan word, en oor watter bevoegdhede 'n fasiliteerder van sulke prosesse moet beskik. My navorsing het gepoog om die vaardighede waaroor ’n fasiliteerder van multi-belanghebbende medewerkende prosesse wat bose probleme aanspreek moet beskik, te identifiseer. Ek het ’n kwalitatiewe navorsingsbenadering aangewend wat beginsels van gegronde teorie toepas, met ’n interpreterende-konstruksionistiese navorsingsparadigma om my navorsingsvrae te beantwoord. Ek het data versamel deur middel van semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met ervare fasiliteerders en ek het ook ’n literatuurstudie onderneem om die bevindinge te vergelyk en te bevestig, asook om verdere kennisgapings te identifiseer. Ek het vasgestel dat die fasiliteringsprosesse bestaan uit primêre en sekondêre prosesse wat kumulatief die beste deur ‘Theory U’ se vyf fases verteenwoordig word. Belanghebbendes, die fasiliteerder, en die proses hou talle risiko’s in vir die suksesvolle uitkomste van ’n samewerkingsproses, maar die risiko’s sal waarskynlik wissel onderhewig aan die probleem-domein-konteks en die betrokke toepaslike belanghebbendes. Ek het ontwerp, ‘container building’ en ‘holding’, intensionele kommunikasie, selfbewustheid, en vaardigheid as vyf bevoegdhede van sleutelfasiliteerders, tesame met die onderliggende kennis, vaardighede, aanlegte, en karaktertrekke wat dit verteenwoordig, gebruik. Verdere navorsing kan gedoen word om die vaardighede wat geïdentifiseer is te bevestig, tesame met ’n ondersoek na die meganismes waardeur sulke vaardighede ontwikkel kan word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103937
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