Platforms for collective action in multiple-use common-pool resources

Nathalie A. Steins*, Victoria M. Edwards

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

106 Citations (Scopus)


Collective action processes in complex, multiple-use common-pool resources (CPRs) have only recently become a focus of study. When CPRs evolve into more complex systems, resource use by separate user groups becomes increasingly interdependent. This implies, amongst others, that the institutional framework governing resource use has to be re-negotiated to avoid adverse impacts associated with the increased access of any new stakeholders, such as overexploitation, alienation of traditional users, and inter-user conflicts. The establishment of "platforms for resource use negotiation" is a way of dealing with complex natural resource management problems. Platforms arise when stakeholders perceive the same resource management problem, realize their interdependence in solving it, and come together to agree on action strategies for solving the problem (Röling, 1994). This article sets the scene for a discussion in this Special Issue about the potential of nested platforms for resource use negotiation in facilitating collective action in the management of complex, multiple-use CPRs. The article has five objectives. First, we define "collective action" in the context of this paper. Second, we discuss the importance of collective action in multiple-use CPRs. Third, we introduce the concept of platforms to coordinate collective action by multiple users. Fourth, we address some issues that emerge from evidence in the field regarding the role and potential of nested platforms for managing complex CPRs. Finally, we raise five discussion statements. These will form the basis for the collection of articles in this special issue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalAgriculture and Human Values
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective action
  • Common-pool resources
  • Multiple-use
  • Platforms for resource use negotiation

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