Usable environmental knowledge from the perspective of decision-making: The logics of consequentiality, appropriateness, and meaningfulness


Environmental knowledge is a crucial input for public and private decision-making, yet often useful environmental knowledge appears to be unusable for decision-makers. To better understand how usable knowledge can be produced, we need to build on a better understanding of decision-making processes. We distinguish three different logics of decision-making and discuss their implications for knowledge use: (1) the logic of consequentiality, rooted in theories of rational choice, in which environmental knowledge is used because of its utilitarian value; (2) the logic of appropriateness, rooted in institutional theories, in which environmental knowledge is used because it fits existing rules and routines; and (3) the logic of meaningfulness, rooted in theories of sensemaking and interpretation, in which environmental knowledge is used because it makes sense to decision-makers. The theory and practice of environmental knowledge (co-)production can profit from considering these different logics of decision-making.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Art Dewulf, Wageningen
Nicole Klenk, Toronto
Carina Wyborn, WWF
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability

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