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Back to Campus: Wicked Problems

On September 14, 2016 Tilburg University presents the alumni event Back to Campus: Wicked Problems.

image wicked problems

What do climate change, poverty, drug consumption and trafficking and the glass ceiling for women have in common? They represent examples of societal and political issues that are – despite numerous attempts and considerable efforts - highly resistant to resolution: wicked problems.

During this Back to Campus event, we will share insights into wicked problems, by using various approaches and a number of examples. Especially using the Volkswagen case, we will take you on journey of gaining more insight into wicked problems.

Wicked Problems

Wicked problems have a number of characteristics that make them very hard to solve. They are very difficult to define and/or to agree on what the exact nature and the extent of the problem is. They have many interdependencies and many different causes. Solutions to address them often lead to unforeseen consequences and it is difficult to find criteria to determine whether they are actually solved.

As a consequence, they cannot be dealt with, with traditional linear, analytical approaches of decision making like finding out what the problem is, develop a number of options, choose the best and implement it. Rather, responses need to be developed through multi-stakeholder collaborations temporarily defining the problem and responses to make them bearable and limit the most negative consequences, i.e. cope with them rather than solve them. Since wicked problems are continuously evolving, coping with them is an iterative process, i.e. new coping strategies have to continuously be developed following their evolution.

The Volkswagen Case

Professor Deborah Hensler will speak about the Volkswagen-issues from the perspectives of law together with Tilburg University’s professor Ianika Tzankova. Various experts of Tilburg University, amongst whom Tony Evans will comment on this matter from different perspectives and will tell you more about other wicked problems in our society, and how we study and deal with these societal challenges.

Let our experts inspire you with their knowledge and approach to wicked problems, and how the context of these problems influences our behavior.

We invite you to the Back to Campus event on the 14th of September. Please join us to expand your knowledge, skills and network!

18.00 Registration and Networking - Sandwiches and drinks
19.00 Opening by dr. Koen Becking, President of the Executive Board of Tilburg University and host & alumnus Joost Tijssen
19.10 Introduction on Wicked Problems by dr. Joerg Raab
19.20 'Opportunity Makes the Thief' by dr. Ben Vollaard
19.40 'The Psychology of Trust and Betrayal' by Tony Evans PhD
20.00 Short break
20.15 'The VW Litigation and the Making of a Private Global Legal Order' by Professor dr. Ianika Tzankova and visiting Professor Deborah Hensler from Stanford University
21.00 Closing
21.10 Drinks and Networking

Dr. Joerg Raab

Joerg Raab is Program Director of the Bachelor's Program Global Management of Social Issues. This Bachelor's program is unique in the Netherlands and is only offered at Tilburg University. This small-scale interactive program has a focus on issues related to the organization and management of complex international societal challenges, or ‘wicked problems’. The goal is to search for the optimal solutions by using a multi-disciplinary analytical approach. The program is based on theories and research methods from the Social Sciences, and includes insights from Organization Studies, Human Resource Studies, and Sociology.

image joerg raab

In his work, Raab tries to understand how policy outcomes and public services come about through the joint efforts of actors in the public, non-profit, and private sectors. He analyses inter-organizational networks in different settings with quantitative and qualitative methods. He currently focuses on the governance and effectiveness of engineered networks. The goal of this endevour is to develop a configurational theory of network effectiveness.

Dr. Ben Vollaard

Does a colleague who commits fraud have a criminal mind? Or did she just happen to be in a situation that invited fraud? If you believe the latter, it is the situation that drove her to commit the crime, and not her tendency to do the wrong thing. What if the only reason why you did not commit an illegal act today is that you were not in a situation that invited you to do so? And if that is true, what does that mean for ways to prevent crime in business and everyday life?

image ben vollaard

'Crime economist' Ben Vollaard (PhD RAND Graduate School) is associate professor at the economics department of Tilburg University. Previously, he was reporter at NRC Handelsblad, graduate fellow at the RAND Corporation and researcher at the Dutch equivalent of the Council of Economic Advisors (CPB). He is interested in the question why people do the right thing rather than the wrong thing. Think of fraud and theft, but also littering and public urination. To find out what keeps people on the right track, he conducts field experiments together with organizations and businesses, including the city of Tilburg and Amsterdam. For this field work, he won the Tilburg School of Economics and Management Research Valorization Award in 2014.

Tony Evans PhD

‘Trust is important in both social and consumer relationships, but it is also fragile. The present talk will investigate how trust differs from other types of decisions involving risk and uncertainty. I will also examine how people react when trust is betrayed. I will argue that the fear of betrayal plays an important role in many social decisions. Understanding reactions to betrayal may help organizations and brands to facilitate trust among strangers.’

image tony evans

Anthony Evans is an assistant professor in the department of Social Psychology. His research lies at the intersection of social psychology and behavioral economics. His recent work investigates how people make decisions involving trust, cooperation, and individual risk-taking. He obtained a BA in Psychology from Northwestern University in 2007 and a PhD in Experimental Psychology from Brown University in 2012.

The Volkswagen Case: Deborah Hensler & Ianika Tzankova

The Volkswagen Case

Globalisation leads to market expansion. Market expansion leads to higher profits for companies but also to higher risk exposure in relation to products and services. The VW-emission scandal is a topical and illustrative example of global risk exposure. While global business creates global problems, global civil courts are lacking. Domestic courts need to act as global courts, but at the same time are lacking the tools to offer a global resolution. In reality private parties: lawyers, interest organisations and funders are in control of the dispute resolution process and are making the Private Global Legal Order. European legal systems are proud of their 'non-US style' of collective dispute resolution, but is such pride justified...?

Deborah Hensler will describe how US courts have used mass litigation procedures including class action rules to meet the challenge of the VW Litigation. Ianika Tzankova will briefly explain the European view on collective redress, will highlight why the Netherlands has gained internationally a special position in the resolution of mass disputes and will give an update of the European/Dutch initiatives in relation to VW.

Prof. Deborah Hensler

Deborah R. Hensler’s empirical research on dispute resolution, complex litigation, class actions and mass tort liability has won international recognition. A political scientist and public policy analyst who was the director of the RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice before joining the Stanford Law School faculty, she has testified before state and federal legislatures in the United States on issues ranging from alternative dispute resolution to asbestos litigation and mass torts and consulted with judges and lawyers outside of the United States on the design of class action regimes.

image deborah hensler

Professor Deborah Hensler is the organizer of the Stanford Globalization of Class Actions Exchange, which is spearheading international collaborative research on class actions and group litigation procedures by scholars in Asia, Europe, Latin and North America, and the Middle East. Noted for her decades-long scholarship on asbestos litigation in the United States, her research and publications have described and interpreted the trajectory of mass claims world-wide. At Stanford Deborah teaches seminars on complex litigation, transnational litigation, the legal profession, and research design for empirical legal studies and serves as associate dean of graduate studies. Deborah also holds a personal chair on Empirical Legal Studies at Tilburg University.


Prof. dr. Ianika Tzankova

Ianika Tzankova holds a chair on Mass Claim Dispute Resolution at Tilburg Law School since October 2007 and combines her academic activities with work in practise. She has always been fascinated by the interrelationship between the 'law in the books' and ‘the law in action’. Her research focusses on access to justice, the interaction between private and public law enforcement, financial incentives and collective actions. She has written numerous articles and comments on the topics and has presented at conferences around the globe. Ianika is considered by some as ‘the most sophisticated analyst of the transition of the Netherlands from a traditional civil law jurisdiction to a world leader in innovative forms of mass dispute resolution.’ Ianika Tzankova is consulted by private, governmental and semi-governmental bodies and entities and regularly comments in the media on the topics of her research. She was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Stanford University in 2012 where she developed and co-taught with Deborah Hensler a seminar on transnational litigation. A seminar that she is currently teaching in the Global Law Bachelor program in Tilburg.

image ianika tzankova

Ianika Tzankova and Deborah Hensler work together since 2008 and are co-initiators of a global collaborative project that brought together 14 scholars from different parts of the world to conduct qualitative research on recent class and mass litigation in their own or another country. Their book ‘Class Actions in Context: How Culture, Economics and Politics Shape Collective Litigation’ was released last May. Most recently Ianika’s research interest includes developments in the legal profession, including the influence of data sciences and the interaction between state courts and arbitration. Ianika will be a visiting professor at Paris Dauphine University this coming academic year. 


Joost Tijssen BSc

image Joost Tijssen

Joost Tijssen is host, presenter, trainer and improvisational actor! He studied the Bachelor's Program Bedrijfseconomie (Economics) and graduated in 2007 at Tilburg University, after which he continued with a bachelor's in Drama at Fontys Hogescholen. During his studies at Tilburg University he was president of the MAK and hosted several events. In 2008, he started his own company, Tijssen Theaterprodukties.

Wanneer: 14 september 2016 18:00

Prijs: free