Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Rational Goal-Setting in Environmental Policy: Foundations and Applications
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4063-3219
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

 The overall aim of this thesis is to present a model for rational goal-setting and to illustrate how it can be applied in evaluations of public policies, in particular policies concerning sustainable development and environmental quality. The contents of the thesis are divided into two sections: a theoretical section (Papers I-IV) and an empirical section (Papers V-VII). Paper I identifies a set of rationality criteria for single goals and discusses them in relation to the typical function of goals. It is argued that goals are typically set to enhance goal achievement. A goal that successfully furthers its achievement is “achievement-inducing”. It holds for each of the identified criteria that, ceteris paribus, improved satisfaction of a criterion makes a goal better in the achievement-inducing sense.Paper II contains an analysis of the notion of goal system coherence. It is argued that the coherence of a goal system is determined by the relations that hold among the goals in the system, in particular the relations of operationalization, means and ends, support, and conflict. Paper III investigates the rationality of utopian goals. The paper analyzes four arguments that support the normative criterion of attainability: that utopian goals are (1) too imprecise and (2) too far-reaching to guide action effectively, (3) counterproductive, and (4) morally objectionable. A tentative defence of utopian goal-setting is built on counter-arguments that can be put forward to weaken each of the four objections. Paper IV investigates the nature of self-defeating goals. The paper identifies three types of situations in which self-defeating mechanisms obstruct goal achievement: (1) situations in which the goal itself carries the seeds of its own non-fulfilment (self-defeating goals), (2) situations in which the activity of goal-setting contributes to goal failure (self-defeating goal-setting), and (3) situations in which disclosure of the goal interferes with progress (self-defeating goal disclosure). Paper V provides a brief description of the Swedish system of environmental objectives and a preliminary inventory of the management difficulties that attach to this goal system.Paper VI contains an investigation into the rationality of five Swedish environmental objectives through an application of the rationality criteria identified in Papers I-II. The paper identifies and discusses some difficulties that are associated with management by objectives and the use of goals in environmental policy. Paper VII analyses the rationality of the Swedish environmental quality objective A good built environment. Among the conclusions drawn in the paper are that some of the sub-goals to the objective are formulated in terms that are unnecessarily vague from an action-guiding standpoint and that others are problematic from the viewpoint of evaluability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH , 2008. , x, 33 p.
Series
Theses in philosophy from the Royal Institute of Technology, ISSN 1650-8831 ; 29
Keyword [en]
goal-setting, rationality, goal systems, precision, evaluability, attainability, motivity, coherence, operationalization, means and ends, support relations, goal conflicts, utopianism, self-defeating goals, management by objectives (MBO), environmental quality objectives, sustainable development
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9273ISBN: 978-91-7415-104-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-9273DiVA: diva2:37837
Public defence
2008-10-17, E3, KTH, Osquars Backe 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. When Is a Goal Rational?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>When Is a Goal Rational?
2005 (English)In: Social Choice and Welfare, ISSN 0176-1714, E-ISSN 1432-217X, Vol. 24, no 2, 343-361 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In decision theory goals are usually taken as given inputs to the analysis, and the focus is on finding the most efficient means to achieve the goals. But where goals are set with the purpose of achieving them, it is important to know what properties they should possess in order to be successful (or achievement-inducing). Four such properties (or rationality criteria) are discussed, namely that goals should be precise, evaluable, approachable and motivating. Precision and evaluability are epistemic properties that concern what the agent may know. Approachability is an ability-related property that concerns what the agent can do. Motivity is a volitional property that concerns what the agent wants to do. Goals may satisfy the rationality criteria to a greater or lesser extent. Some goals are achievement-inducing mainly because they guide action towards the end-state well, others mainly because they motivate the agent to act towards the realization of the end-state.

Keyword
MOTIVATION
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9262 (URN)10.1007/s00355-003-0309-8 (DOI)000230080800008 ()2-s2.0-21244475548 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
2. What Relations Can Hold among Goals, and Why Does It Matter?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What Relations Can Hold among Goals, and Why Does It Matter?
2009 (English)In: Critica-Revista Hispanoamericana de Filosofia, ISSN 0011-1503, Vol. 41, no 121, 47-66 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goals are often set as part of Clusters of goals. On the assumption that goals are set because we want to achieve them it is interesting to study not only the conditions tinder which individual goals are rational (functional) but also the factors that combine to determine the rationality of a goal system. This paper argues that to be rational goal systems ought to be coherent, at least to some degree. The paper provides an analysis of goal system coherence and discusses to what. extent goal conflicts are problematic from an action-guiding viewpoint.

Keyword
goal-setting; rationality; coherence; operationalization; goal conflicts
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9265 (URN)000267776500003 ()2-s2.0-77949535020 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715. Uppdaterad från manuskript till artikel (20100715).Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
3. Utopian Goals: Four Objections and a Cautious Defence
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Utopian Goals: Four Objections and a Cautious Defence
2008 (English)In: Philosophy in the Contemporary World, ISSN 1077-1999, Vol. 15, no 1, 139-154 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9266 (URN)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
4. Self-Defeating Goals
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Self-Defeating Goals
(English)Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9267 (URN)
Note
QS 20120326Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2014-01-21Bibliographically approved
5. Using Goals in Environmental Management: The Swedish System of Environmental Objectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Using Goals in Environmental Management: The Swedish System of Environmental Objectives
2004 (English)In: Environmental Management, ISSN 0364-152X, E-ISSN 1432-1009, Vol. 34, no 2, 170-180 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, environmental policy is essentially carried out through a system of environmental objectives adopted by Parliament in the late 1990s. This system contains principles, objectives, interim targets, strategies, and follow-up mechanisms, which together provide a solid ground for increased efficiency and improved prioritization in environmental policies. Despite the ambitious approach of the Swedish Parliament, the system of environmental objectives suffers from certain shortcomings. Some of the objectives are imprecise and difficult to evaluate, and there are no rules or principles that may be used to solve goal conflicts and to prioritize between different objectives. As a consequence, the environmental objectives tend to differ in their degrees of operationalizability, and the priority-setting between different objectives is often unclear.

Keyword
goal-setting; environmental objectives; goal conflicts; precision; evaluability
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9268 (URN)10.1007/s00267-004-3073-3 (DOI)000223850100002 ()2-s2.0-4544369068 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
6. Setting Rational Environmental Goals: Five Swedish Environmental Quality Objectives
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Setting Rational Environmental Goals: Five Swedish Environmental Quality Objectives
2007 (English)In: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, ISSN 0964-0568, E-ISSN 1360-0559, Vol. 50, no 2, 297-316 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Goals and performance targets are commonly used as tools in the policy-implementation process. In Sweden, environmental policy is operationalized through a system of environmental quality objectives that were adopted by the Swedish Riksdag in the late 1990s. The objectives describe what level of environmental quality Sweden should aim for within a generation, and are designed to guide decision making in all sectors of society. However, to guide decision making toward improved environmental quality, these objectives should satisfy a set of rationality (functionality) criteria; they should be precise, evaluable, approachable, motivating and coherent. In this paper, five Swedish environmental quality objectives are investigated through an application of the suggested criteria: (1) a balanced marine environment, flourishing coastal areas and archipelagos; (2) a magnificent mountain landscape; (3) a non-toxic environment; (4) natural acidification only; and (5) a good built environment. The aim of the paper is to bring the rationality of the objectives up for discussion, and to illustrate the range of issues and difficulties that are involved in choosing and assessing environmental policy goals.

Keyword
MANAGEMENT; STABILITY; BALANCE; VALUES; POLICY
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9269 (URN)10.1080/09640560601156540 (DOI)000248977000007 ()2-s2.0-33947141942 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved
7. Rational Goals for the Urban Environment: A Swedish Example
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rational Goals for the Urban Environment: A Swedish Example
2009 (English)In: European Planning Studies, ISSN 0965-4313, E-ISSN 1469-5944, Vol. 17, no 7, 1007-1027 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Sweden, the government's aim to create sustainable urban environments is expressed through the environmental quality objective A good built environment. The objective embraces seven sub-goals and is designed to guide central, regional and local authorities' planning towards urban sustainability. However, for objectives concerning the urban environment, such as the Swedish objective A good built environment, to form a solid basis for decision-making, two types of rationality (functionality) conditions ought to be met. First, the objectives should guide and motivate those who are responsible for their implementation. This is applicable when the goals satisfy the criteria of precision, evaluability, approachability and motivity. Second, when the goals are parts of larger goal systems, the goal systems should be coherent. Using the objective A good built environment as an empirical basis, this article gives a few examples of how environmental goals can fail to guide and motivate action towards improved urban sustainability.

Keyword
OBJECTIVES; MANAGEMENT
National Category
Philosophy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-9270 (URN)10.1080/09654310902949570 (DOI)000266623900004 ()2-s2.0-70449393878 (Scopus ID)
Note
QC 20100715Available from: 2008-10-14 Created: 2008-10-14 Last updated: 2017-12-11Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(290 kB)1812 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT01.pdfFile size 290 kBChecksum SHA-512
a1a65fa4eefa70305c9efe0d86271a2dbbce5e2f975c9ea86dd1e0d03e30bb8d732fd5a61b331e50f5f88e06b5f5efeb40b47756a22a393602d236d2719a61e2
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Edvardsson Björnberg, Karin
By organisation
Philosophy
Philosophy

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 1812 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

isbn
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

isbn
urn-nbn
Total: 865 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf