Issues Mapping: A problem structuring method for addressing science and technology conflicts

Cronin, Karen, Midgley, Gerald and Jackson, Laurie Skuba (2014) Issues Mapping: A problem structuring method for addressing science and technology conflicts. European Journal of Operational Research, 233 1: 145-158. doi:10.1016/j.ejor.2013.08.012

Author Cronin, Karen
Midgley, Gerald
Jackson, Laurie Skuba
Title Issues Mapping: A problem structuring method for addressing science and technology conflicts
Journal name European Journal of Operational Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0377-2217
Publication date 2014-02
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ejor.2013.08.012
Open Access Status
Volume 233
Issue 1
Start page 145
End page 158
Total pages 14
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV * North-Holland
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Abstract There are new opportunities for the application of problem structuring methods to address science and technology risk conflicts through stakeholder dialogue. Most previous approaches to addressing risk conflicts have been developed from a traditional risk communication perspective, which tends to construct engagement between stakeholders based on the assumption that scientists evaluate technologies using facts, and lay participants do so based on their values. 'Understanding the facts' is generally privileged, so the value framings of experts often remain unexposed, and the perspectives of lay participants are marginalized. When this happens, risk communication methodologies fail to achieve authentic dialogue and can exacerbate conflict. This paper introduces 'Issues Mapping', a problem structuring method that enables dialogue by using visual modelling techniques to clarify issues and develop mutual understanding between stakeholders. A case study of the first application of Issues Mapping is presented, which engaged science and community protagonists in the genetic engineering debate in New Zealand. Participant and researcher evaluations suggest that Issues Mapping helped to break down stereotypes of both scientists and environmental activists; increased mutual understanding; reduced conflict; identified common ground; started building trust; and supported the emergence of policy options that all stakeholders in the room could live with. The paper ends with some reflections and priorities for further research.
Keyword Dialogue
Genetic engineering
Issues mapping
Problem structuring methods
Risk communication
Science and technology conflicts
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Official 2014 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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