Steering for sustainable development: a typology of problems and strategies with respect to ambivalence, uncertainty and distributed power

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


  • Jan-Peter Voß
  • Jens Newig
  • Britta Kastens
  • Jochen Monstadt
  • Benjamin Nölting

Special features of sustainable development as a governance problem are contrasted with a conventional rationalist ideal of steering based on the unambiguous determination of goals, availability of knowledge to predict consequences and concentration of power to implement strategies. This leads into the elaboration of three problem dimensions of steering for sustainable development: ambivalence of sustainability as a goal, uncertainty of knowledge due to complex interactions between society, technology and nature, and distributed power to shape structural change in society. The problem dimensions are taken as a basis for a typology of steering situations and a review of existing theoretical concepts of steering in society. The paper argues for a differentiated discussion of steering capacities in respect to concrete situations. Along these lines, it presents an approach to match strategies with problems.

ZeitschriftJournal of Enviromental Policy & Planning
Seiten (von - bis)193-212
Anzahl der Seiten20
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 09.2007
Extern publiziertJa


  • Nachhaltigkeitskommunikation - sustainable development, policy, problem, typology, goals, ambivalence, knowlegde, uncertainty, control, distribution of power