Networks of action situations: a systematic review of empirical research

Kimmich, Christian; Baldwin, Elizabeth; Kellner, Elke; Oberlack, Christoph; Villamayor-Tomas, Sergio (2022). Networks of action situations: a systematic review of empirical research. Sustainability science, 18(1), pp. 11-26. Springer 10.1007/s11625-022-01121-2

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“Action situations”—events, venues, or physically interdependent instances of decision-making—have become a central unit of analysis in the social–environmental sciences, particularly among scholars interested in bridging the social with the biophysical or ecological side of interdependent decisions. A growing body of empirical studies in social–ecological systems research has recently used case and comparative studies to analyse multiple interdependent action situations, structured into networks. In this article, we take stock of this body of empirical research, synthesize the diverse approaches that scholars have taken to assess “networks of action situations”, and identify fruitful paths forward. We conduct a systematic review of the empirical literature in the field, reviewing and summarizing the key characteristics of the empirical studies, including network features, topologies, methods, and data sources used in each case. We summarize and discuss the conceptualizations, methods, diagnostic procedures, and conclusions used in this body of work in a narrative framework synthesis. The review indicates that an increasingly coherent approach is taking shape, but a systematic, protocol-driven, or formalized approach is only partly emerging. We derive future research needs that could help accumulate knowledge from empirical research.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Oberlack, Christoph






[1729] Is environmental justice necessary for human well-being? Comparative analysis of certification schemes, inclusive business, and solidarity economy strategies
[805] Sustainability Governance




Melchior Peter Nussbaumer

Date Deposited:

23 Mar 2022 16:28

Last Modified:

15 Feb 2023 12:27

Publisher DOI:





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