Practitioners’ pursuit of change: A theoretical framework

Emilia Ravn Boess*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


The fact that environmental assessment (EA) practice is executed by multiple practitioners from different stakeholder groups with varying interests means that individually molded ideas of practice are brought into collaborative spaces, where they are negotiated and reworked into an executed practice. This research investigates the practitioner's ability to constitute and change their practice, in terms of how their individual motivations interacting with others' prompts and restricts action. By synthesizing extant theories on decision-making, a new theoretical framework of ‘spaces for practice’ is proposed, encompassing concepts of motivation, action, discretionary freedom, non-decisions, and rule-following. The framework recognizes practice as consisting of a practitioner's motivation and resulting action, in which constituting a practice is both a matter of restricting potential practice to executed practice, but also using discretion to pursue new opportunities for practice. Besides being a scholarly contribution to theory building within the EA field, the theory is also expected to contribute to understanding how EA practice can develop, supporting the notion that EA is a fluid practice subject to a process of continuous reconfiguration. The theory emphasizes the importance of the practitioner's role, perceiving them as active engineers of the process, rather than as passive participants reacting to a predetermined practice. The framework provides EA practitioners with a theoretical tool for reflecting upon their own role and better understanding the opportunities they may have for influencing it.
Original languageEnglish
Article number106928
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Action
  • Decision-making
  • EA practice
  • Influence
  • Motivation
  • Practitioners


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