Stakeholder’s involvement through scientific reasoning: communicating risks without risk communication

One of our five keynotes at the CIP Conference 2014 in Brussels

Prof. Dr. José Manuel Palma-Oliveira

In the past, traditional approach to risk communication has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decisions.

Presentation synopsis

The way risk communication is usually conceptualized and implemented has stakeholder persuasion as a primary objective, either explicitly or implicitly. The focus is on the “proper” way of communicating risk information given the quality of the scientific evidence of risk. Even though multiple ways of framing the information based on the psychometric, cultural or even mental models approaches, traditional approach to risk communication has failed in many cases resulting in significant stakeholder unease and stress. In order to fully understand these processes we have to enlarge our theoretical framework.

Also, stakeholders can be profoundly distrustful in relation to the conclusions of science and technological “computations”, however they are sensitive to scientific reasoning, particularly when they are integrated in formal hypothesis generation and testing, data collection and decision modeling.

This talk will focus on alternative approaches of bringing stakeholders on board in projects where risk is a significant driver for decision. This was proven to be successful in sorting environmental conflicts. Tools of decision analysis and risk communications will be presented and discussed in the context of siting problems in Portugal and Tunisia where the communities strongly show their opposition (even with riots with military forces involved). These cases will show how they were able to overcome the opposition and radically diminish or eliminate the psychosocial stress.

Video

Speaker

Keynote speaker biographies can be found in the full programme PDF

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