Means, motive, and opportunity: A method for understanding stakeholder agency within food–energy–water systems

Bird, Kate I. T.
Nichols, Virginia A.
Garay, Eduardo S.
Nowatzke, Matthew
Essary, Ch'Ree
Post, Kimberly K.
Deviney, Alison V.
Welles, Jacqueline S.
Alao, Mumuni O.
Dorbu, Freda Elikem
Classen, John J.
Koziel, Jacek
Cortus, Erin L.
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University of California Press
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Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringFood Science and Human NutritionCivil, Construction and Environmental EngineeringAgronomy
Wicked problems are inherent in food–energy–water systems (FEWS) due to the complexity and interconnectedness of these systems, and addressing these challenges necessitates the involvement of the diverse stakeholders in FEWS. However, successful stakeholder engagement requires a strong understanding of the relationships between stakeholders and the specific wicked problem. To better account for these relationships, we adapted a means, motive, and opportunity (MMO) framework to develop a method of stakeholder analysis that evaluates the agency of stakeholders related to a wicked problem in FEWS. This method involves two key components: (1) identification of a challenge at the FEWS nexus and (2) evaluation of stakeholder agency related to the challenge using the dimensions of MMO. This approach provides a method for understanding the characteristics of stakeholders in FEWS and provides information that could be used to inform stakeholder engagement in efforts to address wicked problems at the FEWS nexus. In this article, we present the stakeholder analysis method and describe an example application of the MMO method by examining stakeholder agency related to the adoption of improved swine waste management technology in North Carolina, USA.
This article is published as Bird, KIT, Nichols, VA, Garay, ES, Nowatzke, M, Essary, C, Post, KK, Deviney, AV, Welles, JS, Alao, MO, Dorbu, FE, Classen, JJ, Koziel, JA, Cortus, EL. 2022. Means, motive, and opportunity: A method for understanding stakeholderagency within food–energy–water systems. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 10(1). DOI: 10.1525/elementa.2021.00066. Copyright 2022 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Posted with permission.