The purpose of this paper is to link empowerment to the engagement of low-power stakeholders in the context of marine protected areas (MPAs) to suggest how empowerment-based engagement can be strategised to prevent and overcome management crises within a natural common good and ultimately achieve effective co-management.
This research employs a longitudinal case study methodology. The subject of the study is Torre Guaceto MPA, a natural common good, internationally recognised as a best practice of co-management.
The case study illustrates specific empowerment areas and actions that help move low-power stakeholders to higher levels of engagement to achieve effective co-management. It also suggests that the main strategic implication of empowerment-based engagement is the creation of empowered stakeholders who can serve as catalysts for sustaining the common through the development of entrepreneurial skills that satisfy joint interests.
The applied methodology of a single case and the peculiar conditions intrinsic to this case can be overcome via the inclusion and comparison of other similar commons.
The study provides a stakeholder management model of empowerment-based engagement that offers concrete evidence of empowerment strategies that can be adopted and adapted by the management of similar natural common goods.
The research fills the literature gaps related to understanding the antecedents of engagement and its strategic implications within natural common pool resources.