Transdisciplinary environmental research: building trust across professional cultures

Harris, Frances and Lyon, Fergus ORCID logoORCID: (2013) Transdisciplinary environmental research: building trust across professional cultures. Environmental Science & Policy, 31 . pp. 109-119. ISSN 1462-9011 [Article] (doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2013.02.006)

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With the challenges of researching complex topics such as those related to environmental sustainability and land use, there is a growing interest in promoting collaboration between research and industry, between different disciplines in research, and between different types of research organisations. However there is a need to know more about how collaboration is operating and approaches to building trust in these relations. This paper uses the detailed analysis of 10 case studies of research collaborations related to sustainability and environmental land-use to examine the different professional cultures among research collaborators, the incentives they have to cooperate, and the processes of building trust. The paper shows that trust is vital when crossing professional cultural boundaries as people are opening themselves to vulnerability and risk. The results show how trust is built between university researchers, environmental NGOs, private businesses and commercial advisory companies. Trust is shown to be built by having information others, prior experience of working together, norms of cooperation, and sanctions exerted on those who might transgress norms of behaviour. Having incentives is a necessary but not adequate basis for having trust. These relationships are built up through existing relationships, building trust through progression of projects and the use of intermediaries or guarantors.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Available online 8 May 2013
Keywords (uncontrolled): Collaboration, trust, professions, land-use, sustainability, qualitative, interdisciplinarity, boundary.
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR)
Item ID: 18900
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Depositing User: Stanislava Angelova
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2016 11:33
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 00:08

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