Environmental and natural resource policy decision making is changing. Increasingly citizens and management agency personnel are seeking ways to do things differently; to participate meaningfully in the decision making process as parties work through policy conflicts. Doing things differently has come to mean doing things collaboratively.
Daniels and Walker examine collaboration in environmental and natural resource policy decision making and conflict management. They address collaboration by featuring a method collaborative learning, that has been designed to address decision making and conflict management needs in complex and controversial policy settings. As they illustrate, collaborative learning differs in some significant ways from existing approaches for dealing with policy decision making, public participation, and conflict management. First, it is a hybrid of systems thinking and alternative dispute resolution concepts. Second, it is grounded explicitly in experiential, team-or organizational-and adult learning theories. It is a theory-based framework through which parties can make progress in the management of controversial environmental policy situations. They discuss both the theory and technique of collaborative learning and present cases where it has been applied. This is a professional and teaching tool for scholars, students, and researchers involved with environmental issues as well as dispute resolution.
About the Author:
STEVEN E. DANIELS is Director of the Western Rural Development Center at Utah State University in Logan./e The WRDC is one of four regional centers for applied social science and community development
s mission is to strengthen rural families, communities, and businesses by facilitating collaborative socio-economic research and extension through higher education institutions in the western region. Earlier, Professor Daniels was a faculty member in the Department of Forest Resources at Oregon State University.
GREGG B. WALKER is Professor and Chair of the Department of Speech Communication, Adjunct Professor of Forest Resources, and Director of the Peace Studies program at Oregon State University in Corvallis./e In addition, Professor Walker conducts training programs on collaborative decision making, designs collaborative public participation processes, facilitates collaborative learning community workshops, and researches community-level collaboration efforts.