Title: Augmented Popperian experiments: a framework for sustainability knowledge development across contexts

Authors: Fred Phillips; Hsinger Lin; Trudi Schifter; Nicholas Folse

Addresses: Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA; Stony Brook-State University of New York, New York, USA ' Department of Business Management, National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan ' TallyFox Social Technologies AG, Trittligasse 12, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland ' Anderson School of Management, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Abstract: The challenges to sustainability governance across multiple geographical/cultural contexts lead us to the 'piecemeal engineering' idea advocated by the philosopher Karl Popper, which explicitly considers context. We argue for adopting the piecemeal engineering approach, augmented by adaptive policies and modern (online) collaboration platforms to maximise the prospects of sustainable practices worldwide. This recommended course is not intended to be a theory in itself. Rather, it is a well-grounded, practical and practicable stop-gap measure in times when complexity and change outpace theories and strategies. We present a philosophical foundation for this 'Augmented Popperian Experimentation'. Focusing on the Water Network (the largest collaborative platform for water researchers and professionals), we show that sustainability-oriented organisations in the water realm and others are inching towards the practice we advocate. Policy and practice implications include speeding informed response to climate change through online collaboration and flexible policies, and the need to tolerate multiple, possibly incommensurate measurement streams.

Keywords: sustainability; governance; piecemeal engineering; collaboration; Karl Popper.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIM.2021.118570

European Journal of International Management, 2021 Vol.16 No.4, pp.585 - 609

Received: 02 Apr 2019
Accepted: 17 May 2019

Published online: 25 Sep 2021 *

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