Do multi-stakeholder platforms work? : contributions of multi-stakeholder platforms to the performance of research for development interventions

Murat Sartas

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

This thesis studies the contribution of multi-stakeholder platforms (MSP) to the performance of research for development (R4D) interventions. MSPs are increasingly being utilized as a management and stakeholder engagement approach in R4D interventions. However, whether and how they contribute to R4D interventions, and which factors play a role, has not been systematically assessed. The thesis investigates the ways in which MSPs can contribute to R4D interventions and explores the factors that influence the contribution of MSPs. In order to capture the contributions systematically, it develops a new research approach by combining action research and qualitative and quantitative methods in a systematic manner.

The thesis focuses on two aspects, (1) process outputs and (2) their drivers, where the contribution of MSPs can be observed during different types of R4D interventions. Regarding the former, the network analysis approach is used to study major process outputs, i.e. collaboration, knowledge exchange, and influence spread. Regarding the latter, drivers that lead to changes in process outputs, i.e. participation, shared understanding, engagement, and learning, are quantified.

The thesis shows that MSPs do not necessarily increase collaboration in innovation networks. They may have no major impact in enhancing such networks, but they can make positive contributions to the knowledge networks targeted by R4D interventions. It also indicates that MSPs can contribute to stakeholders’ shared understanding and learning. However, its contribution to participation and engagement are highly dependent on periodic cycles. In addition, it shows that the factors that influence the process outcomes and their drivers vary.

The thesis synthesizes four different empirical studies organized as research papers and concludes that:

•           Using the theory of change to study MSPs’ contribution to R4D intervention performance can improve study results

•           Comprehensive understanding of the contribution of MSPs to the performance of R4D interventions requires mixed-method approaches

•          R4D interventions with MSPs lead to extension of existing process configurations

•           Initial selection of the stakeholders to be represented in an MSP constrains the contribution of the MSP

•           The MSP approach is not conducive to R4D interventions that require the engagement of a broader stakeholder base

•          The MSP approach is not conducive to R4D interventions aiming at transformative change.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Leeuwis, Cees, Promotor
  • Schut, Marc, Co-promotor
  • Van Asten, P.J.A., Co-promotor, External person
Award date13 Nov 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789463435079
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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