Assessing Capacities and Performances in Sustainable Global Value Chains

The performance of current governance arrangements in sustainable global value chains (GVCs) is increasingly discussed in the public and virtual arenas of mass media. In these settings, media logic increasingly dictates the creation of success and failure, requires fast successes, highlights failures, and focuses on blaming rather than on learning and improvement. This logic does not meet the complexities that characterize the wicked problems that governance practices within GVCs have to address. This post-doc project aims to assess performances of governance arrangements in GVCs, that embraces complexity and enhances learning.

This research is one of three projects related to the Wageningen University research program Next Generation Governance Arrangements for Sustainable Global Value Chains.

Project summary

In this project, successful and unsuccessful cases of past and current governance arrangements are analysed. To assess these cases, we draw on the theoretical framework, developed by Termeer and colleagues (1). This framework consists of five governance capabilities, which are considered crucial for coping with wicked societal issues in volatile environments:

  • reflexivity, or the capability to deal with multiple frames in society and policy
  • resilience, or the capability to flexibly adapt to frequently occurring and uncertain changes
  • responsiveness, or the capability to respond wisely to changing agendas and public demands
  • revitalisation, or the capability to unblock deadlocks and stagnations in policy processes
  • rescaling, or the capability to address mismatches between the scale of a problem and the scale at which it is governed

In the project, these capabilities are further operationalized to be able to carry out an assessment of the arrangements in terms of performance. This operationalization is informed by a desk study of academic literature and relevant documents, as well as by input from our consortium partners and other stakeholders. For example, in our "Bonn-workshop" we discussed the capabilities and performances of certification and labeling schemes with a broad range of stakeholders (Click here to read more about this workshop).

In this study, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) is used as main research methodology. The assessment will result both in theoretical assumptions about the linkages between the key determinants of arrangements to enhance performance and in recommendations for practicioners regarding improving the governance capabilities.

(1) References:

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My Highlight

In our fourth consortium meeting, input from our consortium partners contributed to the refinement of my work sofar on operationalization of the five governance capabilities. It allowed me to proceed, and to move on my case study work.