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Boundary work in sustainability partnerships: An exploration of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil

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Sustainability partnerships have the potential to function as boundary organizations that intertwine stakeholders from different domains of society to jointly produce knowledge linked to action. However, little is known about the practice of knowledge production in such arrangements. In this paper we develop an analytical framework, based on attributes of the nature of knowledge, the process of knowledge production, and the organization of that process, to analyze the extent to which knowledge processes in partnerships can be understood as joint knowledge production (JKP). The application of the framework to the
exemplary case of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) shows that science and scientific knowledge do not necessarily play a dominant role in such a boundary organization. The analysis also shows that an abstract concept like JKP can be operationalized and used to assess characteristic of knowledge production in partnerships. This may provide leverage points to the actors involved to improve their boundary work. The framework can also be used as a dialogue instrument to open-up discussions about, and to reflect upon JKP in boundary organizations.

    Research areas

  • Boundary organizations, Boundary work, CLIMATE-CHANGE, JOINT KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION, Joint knowledge production, MULTI-STAKEHOLDER GOVERNANCE, NETWORKS, ORGANIZATIONS, STANDARDS, SYSTEMS, Sustainability partnerships
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-45
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Science & Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015