The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance
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The Challenges of Collaboration in Environmental Governance

Barriers and Responses

Edited by Richard D. Margerum and Cathy J. Robinson

Collaborative approaches to governance are being used to address some of the most difficult environmental issues across the world, but there is limited focus on the challenges of practice. Leading scholars from the United States, Europe and Australia explore the theory and practice in a range of contexts, highlighting the lessons from practice, the potential limitations of collaboration and the potential strategies for addressing these challenges.
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Chapter 15: The challenge of transformative learning: mining practice stories to study collaboration and dispute resolution strategies

John Forester


This chapter explores the challenges of facilitators' roles in collaborative processes and the ways in which researchers can learn from such facilitators' experiences. By examining a rich practice story detailing a facilitator's collaborative work, the chapter focuses upon facilitators' professional expertise, their concerns about inefficiency, and the complexities of convening, guiding, and intervening. Forester also highlights the challenges for researchers to define and explain collaborative approaches, which often do not fit traditional labels of facilitation, collaboration, or dispute resolution. He challenges researchers to do a better job of exploring grounded accounts of collaborative work by practitioners to help readers better understand the complexities of collaborative efforts. Forester argues that researchers and practitioners alike must think carefully about the challenges of building relationships, framing contentious issues, responding to participants' demands, and understanding the processes of dialogue, debate, and negotiation—along with the corresponding intervening roles that each of these three processes require.

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