A great deal of attention is given to the importance of communication in environmental remediation and radioactive waste management. However, very little attention is given to eliciting multiple perspectives so as to formulate high quality decisions. Plans that are based on a limited number of perspectives tend to be narrowly focused whereas those that are based on a wide variety of perspectives tend to be comprehensive, higher quality, and more apt to be put into application. In addition, existing methods of dialogue have built-in limitations in that they typically draw from the predominant thinking patterns which focus in some areas but ignore others. This can result in clarity but a lack of comprehensiveness.
This paper presents a Perspective Awareness Model which helps groups such as partnering teams, interagency teams, steering committees, and working groups elicit a wide net of perspectives and viewpoints. The paper begins by describing five factors that makes cooperation among such groups challenging. Next, a Perspective Awareness Model that makes it possible to manage these five factors is presented. The two primary components of this model — the eight “Thinking Directions” and the “Shared Documentation” — are described in detail. Several examples are given to illustrate how the Perspective Awareness Model can be used to elicit multiple perspectives to formulate high quality decisions in the area of environmental remediation and radioactive waste management.