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Power Relations in Multistakeholder Initiatives—A Case Study of the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa (GISCO)

Additional Information
MDPI AG, 2022.
LCC:Environmental effects of industries and plants
LCC:Renewable energy sources
LCC:Environmental sciences
Multistakeholder initiatives (MSIs) are formalized networks with member organizations from the private, public and not-for-profit sector. Even though members interact to achieve sustainability goals they cannot reach alone, research indicates that they are heterogeneous actors with their own and sometimes conflicting goals. There is no consensus in the literature regarding how those conflicting goals are negotiated. Power is seen as an important factor affecting network governance, but various concepts exist which can be applied to MSIs to different degrees. We explore the impact of person-, organization- and network-based power relations among actors in an MSI on the achievement of its own goals. To this end, we conducted 18 qualitative expert interviews with people involved in the MSI to explore decision making. Our results show that institutionally defined subgroups with similar actors (stakeholder groups) collectively represent their interest in the MSI. All stakeholder groups thus have a specific form of group-based organizational power. Our study shows that these are not negotiated; consequently, the MSI faces constraints in terms of dysfunctional power relations, as well as obstacles to finding solutions for sustainability issues on a global scale.
electronic resource