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Decision Aiding, Not Dispute Resolution: Creating Insights Through Structured Environmental Decisions

Public participation in environmental decisions has become commonplace. A favored model for public input is to use the tools of dispute resolution to seek consensus among members of a multi-party stakeholder group. The authors believe that a focus on dispute resolution and consensus building can pose impediments to the creation of insights for decision makers and lead to the adoption of inferior policy choices.

Instead, they advocate an alternative approach to stakeholder participation characterized as "decision aiding" through a structured process based on constructive, multi-attribute techniques and value-focused thinking. In this paper some of the major difficulties posed by a dispute-resolution approach are articulated, the principles of a decision-aiding process reviewed, and this alternative approach illustrated by describing a stakeholder consultation involving water-use planning for a hydroelectric facility on the Alouette River in British Columbia, Canada.

Robin Gregory, Tim McDaniels and Daryl Fields

Journal of Policy Analysis And Management, 20 (3), 415 (2001)

Resource Link: www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/home

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