Decisions, Power, and Controversies in Sustainable Development

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Decisions, Power, and Controversies in Sustainable Development

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Sustainable Development

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The aim of the course is to provide a conceptual framework for understanding and evaluating organizational and societal decision making processes (DMP), and to discuss a set of central concepts in the field, which can help us understand environmental and related DMP. The course is useful for conducting research and consultancy work with the objective to evaluate, and/or improve policymaking (in an organization, national policy or international policy).

    The course is structured as a guided self-study course, which means that students read the texts on their own. Questions with model answers will be provided for each text and by using these, students can check whether they have properly understood the texts or not. There will be an introductory class where the teacher will explain key concepts in decision-making. Also, students have the possibility to attend 2 elective follow up class discussions that will be held only in case students have questions about the course material.

    The reading material for the course draws on: decision sciences, sociology, evolutionary economics, group psychology, policy sciences, among other disciplines. It is an eclectic collection of texts on individual, group, and societal decision making processes, with, where possible, concrete application to environmental issues. The multidisciplinary perspective reflects the different disciplines that decision sciences draw upon. Issues that are discussed and applied are: frames, values, diversity, power, feedback, learning, groupthink, polarization, stakeholders, trust, legitimation, bounded rationality.

    Group assignments (30%) (obligatory; minimum grade a 6) and written exam (70%) (obligatory; minimum 6)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.