FIGURE 2.1c Decision Point.

aPublic, stakeholders, policy considerations, and the long-term science and technology program (S&T) provide input for decision-making. For a generic definition of stakeholder see Sidebar 3.2.

bResponsibility for the decision will depend on the national framework and on the specific issue addressed.

cCan be an iteration of a previous stage.

2.5 Criteria for Adaptive Staging

Linear Staging is appropriate under certain circumstances; however, in projects facing significant technical uncertainties and societal challenges, an Adaptively Staged approach may offer a greater likelihood of success. The committee has developed project criteria to determine the appropriateness of Adaptive Staging for such projects.9

These criteria are interrelated, and they must be assessed simultaneously to determine whether an Adaptively Staged approach has a higher likelihood of success than a Linearly Staged process. The committee presents these criteria as a series of questions. Adaptive Staging may be an appropriate approach to a project when the answer is “yes” to most of the following questions:


These criteria are based on a considerable body of work in organization studies dating back several decades. For further information, see Scott (2003); Thompson (1967); Cyert and March (1963); Lindblom (1965); Steinbrunner (1974); Galbraith (1977); Emery and Trist (1965); Dess and Beard (1984); La Porte (1994, 2000). Similar analyses stem from studies of policy implementation, such as Berman (1980) and Sabatier (1986). For background reading, see Lindblom (1959) and Etzioni (1967).

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