Learning to address complexity in natural resource management Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6t053k181

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  • Conventional natural resource management has struggled with effectively addressing dynamically complex natural resource issues. Many organizations structured in the rational-analytical paradigm of resource management are becoming increasingly aware that new management approaches are needed. Particularly in a rapidly changing environment, organizational learning is important for promoting an organization's ability to adapt and shift to new approaches for natural resource management. The purpose of this research was to understand what organizational structures and processes inhibit or facilitate opportunities for organizational learning when addressing complex resource problems. Because partnerships are increasingly being employed as a method of organizing in natural resource management, I conducted a comparative case study approach of two resource management partnerships in Oregon's Willamette Valley the Willamette Restoration Initiative and the West Eugene Wetlands. Data were triangulated from three qualitative data sources: interviews, organizational documents, and participant observation. Findings reveal that how the case study partnerships and its members frame complex natural resource issues has a strong influence on organizational learning. In particular, partnership members who frame their work using positive, social, and dynamic orientations foster their ability to continuously learn when addressing issues of dynamic complexity. These individual and group frames promote learning in part through their influence on the development of inclusive, reflective, and place-based organizational processes and organic organizational structures. How individual and group frames are established, maintained, and altered is an important consideration for promoting learning within natural resource management partnerships. Furthermore, organizational learning in these partnerships was comprised of individual learning embedded into partnership routines and memory as well as emergent learning resulting from a process of social construction. Organizational practices directed toward both individual and team learning therefore need to be fostered in natural resource partnerships addressing dynamically complex problems.
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