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Strategic Environmental Assessment

Strategic Sustainable Management Through Critical Factors For Sustainable Development

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Public defence of the PhD Thesis by Joana Margarida de Almeida Lima
"Strategic Sustainable Management Through Critical Factors For Sustainable Development"

Supervisor: Professor Maria do Rosário Sintra de Almeida Partidário

Link to attend > Zoom Plataform

Finding a meaningful way to comprehend sustainability as a concept requires an in-depth understanding on how is addressed sustainability and sustainable development or other applications (S&SX-sustainability and sustainable-X, X for types of development).

Following a grounded theory research strategy, a conceptual framework - SPRAY (Sustainability’s PluRAlitY) was drafted, that respects the flexibility and emergent nature of the qualitative and quantitative characteristic of this research. A multi-method application of SPRAY enables the of use of a comprehensive literature review, an online questionnaire, and in-depth interviews - case studies. This gave the research a collection of rich and distinctive data.

The review of the literature on diagrammatic reasoning led to the use of thematic coding, cognitive maps and dynagrams allowing identify the central ideas from SPRAY’s results: (i) Fragmented knowledge impedes integration of findings in S&SX; (ii) Contrasting paradigms in S&SX; (iii) Plurality or arbitrariness; (iv) Ambiguity and plurality in sustainability appear to be mutually reinforced; (v) Sustainability should be better dealt with as a wicked problem; (vi) Concreteness and integratedness in S&SX seem hard to be mutually viable; and (vii) Capabilities as a determinant factor to interpretate and understand Sustainability. The discussion and the rational of the overall data collected is supported on Dervins’ SMM, providing valuable insight to guide the construction of knowledge from the data. Weick’s sensemaking is also use, its seven properties are expended as pillars to shape a model for strategic contributions for sustainability. As the final step, from an inductive approach, the findings and knowledge from literature has shaped the output of this research - a model for strategic contributions for sustainability. ROSETA stands for a Roadmap fOr StratEgic sustainabiliTy trAnsitions, its main objective is help organisations enhancing their strategies to promote a transition to more sustainable management practices provide guidance to integrate four rationales of thought (System, Future, Design and Operational thinking) embracing sustainability’s plurality.

KEYWORDS: Sustainability; Sustainable Development; Sustainability conceptualisation; Sustainability plurality; Sustainability Journeys.


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