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Achieving a just transformation is deeply normative, involving conflicting worldviews, contested pathways and different interests (Schlaile et al., 2017). A culture of transformation is constituted by values (Grosse, 2019). These values give meaning to action (Gehman, Trevino, & Garud, 2013). Values facilitate or hinder a common understanding of the problem, which is necessary to co-generate solutions by the cooperation of public, social and private actors (Alford & Head, 2017). Making values transparent supports mutual understanding of motivations and also enhances the motivation to act. Values are key components of a transformation culture, provide frames and built collective identities (Grosse, 2019).
We often assume, that within cooperation or other research constellations, we all want the same, but our understanding of concepts and values differ. E.g. we all want equal participation in cooperation. But what does this mean for each party, especially if you are in cooperation projects that are financed by the Global North and the Global South should be an equal partner? If you engage in a discussion on core values, this will increase mutual understanding and boost impact. Values might also offer a more realistic approach to issues of meta-governance and of trans-disciplinarity in general. Values can have the potential to unite diverse perspectives. If we all want a decent life, in which no one is left behind: How does your collaboration project define decent and what is its contribution to it? What are the values determining it? In the current times of crises, we need to jointly define the problem to create a shared starting point. A prior value discussion supports setting shared ground.
Values are the first (and sometimes the only) rules of the game that determine what is allowed and what is unacceptable in political behaviour. Sometimes values are just assumed to be subsumed in the formal law and rules, but we suggest they deserve a more detailed analysis than what has been done until now (see e.g. Torfing 2016).