Political leadership in environmental change Scholten, Peter Edelenbos, Jurian Groot, Wouter de Meijerink, Sander Teisman, Geert Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
Political leadership in environmental change
influences on local leadership in Dutch water management
Groot, Wouter de
Freie Universität Berlin, Fachbereich Politik- und Sozialwissenschaften, Forschungsstelle für Umweltpolitik
Processes of transformation, aimed at adaptation of environmental change, are often initiated in informal arenas where forerunners meet and breed. In order to connect such transformations to the existing socio-political context an adequate form of environmental governance is needed. This implies a key role for public decision-makers as gate keepers that can link an innovative policy proposal to the existing complexities of the government context in which social barriers, democratic obligations and the representation of existing routines that might be challenged by this innovation.
This paper will focus on a radical change in the water management strategies of the South western delta area and specifically the resalinization of the Volkerak-Zoommeer. In the light of ecological rehabilitation and safety from possible flooding the need to restore this artificially maintained fresh water basin to its former state and allow influence of marine dynamics has been articulated. These adaptations provide several challenges for finding alternatives for the supply and use of fresh water to existing agriculture and industry.
The role of local political leadership in the process of combining and synchronizing existing routines with innovations that require a change of these routines is regarded as essential. These connective capacities of leadership are subject to various influencing factors such as personal characteristics, the local and supra-local environment and institutional arrangements.
Theoretically we distinguish leadership behavior in transactional, daring and transformational typologies. It would be hypothesized that daring leadership, which we conceptualize as a combination between transactional and transformational repertoires is most suitable for the successful coupling of innovative proposals with existing routines.
Through empirical case study, the paper will explore key motivational elements resulting in specific leadership behavior as well as the ensuing possibilities for successful integration of the innovative proposals into existing policy.
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