|Title||It takes more to get a ship to change course: barriers for organizational learning and local climate adaptation in Sweden|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2010|
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning|
|Keywords||adaptive capacity, climate adaptation, Climate risks, learning challenges, organizational learning|
Evaluates systematic organizational learning in response to the challenges of climate change adaptation, utilising case studies from two Swedish municipalities.
Fostering system-wide learning and reflexivity is an essential element of institutional adaptive capacity for adaptation to climate change. This article examines the forms of learning and learning challenges occurring in two Swedish municipalities. In spite of a range of pathways and approaches employed within the municipalities for managing climate change risk, similar challenges were revealed. A key issue was the tendency for learning to be concentrated among a few specialized key actors, rather than achieving more systematic and cross-sectoral applicability. An inability to mediate tensions among local sector interests, also limited broader reflexive learning based on experience. Another key issue was the distinction between “learning on paper” and the extent to which this translates into concrete working practices (i.e. “learning in use”). Various pathways for organisational adaptive learning are proposed.
Learning across scales is essential for adaptive learning, yet challenging in practice. This article points out that learning tends to predominate at the individual level, but is much more difficult to achieve through the organisational or systems level. Part of the reason for this, according to the findings of this article, is that learning becomes ‘trapped’ within specific sectors or specialised domains of activity, and this learning fails to transcend established sectoral norms, values and interests. Open acknowledgment of the cross-cutting nature of climate change adaptation is needed, identifying common frames of understanding, and enabling wider acceptance and understanding of the issues.