Structuring and Managing Action



In Preparing for Action, you organized the substantive aspects of your collective action engagement: challenges to be addressed, action areas to consider, participants to engage, the level and type of engagement to pursue, and the key design elements of your collective action. This effort should provide you with a clear picture of the need for and level of collective action, potential participants to engage, and a strong sense of how the collective action would begin and unfold from a process and information requirements perspective.

You are now prepared to start interested-party engagement in earnest, and specifically structure your engagement in consultation with other collective action participants. This marks the point at which you take the collective action approach prepared through internal deliberations beyond the factory fence line. As your external consultations gain traction and provide a sense of the degree of willingness to participate in the collective action, you will rapidly move into the need for explicit conversations about process expectations, objectives, and structure.

Elements of Collective Action Preparation

This, by design, should be an iterative process with participants that produces not only a “product” (agreements, expectations, objectives, etc.), but also better understanding, trust, and credibility among participants. As mentioned in the introduction to this Guide, the Water Futures Partnership is producing a compendium of lessons learned from collective action efforts among companies and interested parties that have taken place around the world, and the insights gained from these on-the-ground examples can further help you structure and manage your collective action. Additionally, Selecting Collective Action Engagement Level provides a list of stakeholder engagement resources that speak to the operational aspects of collective action.

This section identifies some characteristics of effective collective action and identifies key structural elements typically required to start collective actions on the right foot and keep them on track as the process unfolds. They are provided to help you structure your initial interactions with interested parties and ensure your iterative efforts to establish engagement expectations, objectives, and procedures cover all of the core aspects of effective collective action. Although your engagement, like all other collective actions, will be unique to the water-related challenges and on-the-ground conditions you face, you will optimize your efforts by considering some common factors. The most significant are those focusing on relationships between the convener, the partners, and the community. By creating a constructive dynamic among the participants and addressing key structural and management elements, the risks related to collective action can be mitigated, leading to more positive outcomes for all.

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