The landscape of leadership in environmental governance:a case study from Solomon Islands

Evans, Louisa S. and Cohen, Philippa J. and Case, Peter and Hicks, Christina and Prideaux, Murray and Mills, David (2017) The landscape of leadership in environmental governance:a case study from Solomon Islands. Human Ecology, 45 (3). pp. 357-365. ISSN 0300-7839

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We bring new insights to environmental governance research from leadership studies where there is a growing recognition that leadership is a process that is enacted through a “web of interactions incorporating both people and objects” (Hawkins et al. 2015: 953). Leadership is broadly defined as a process of influence resulting in shared direction and commitment (following Bolden et al. 2012 and Haslam et al. 2011). To illustrate what a more nuanced understanding of leadership can look like we employ a deliberately provocative analytical perspective inspired by Actor Network Theory which recognises that societal outcomes are shaped by relations among humans and non-human, including discursive, actants (Latour 2005; Dwiartama and Rosin 2014 and see discussion for detailed examples). We report on an empirical study of Solomon Islands’ engagement with the multi-national, multi-objective Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI), an initiative that is labelled as potentially transformative. We aimed to understand how different actors perceive leadership for improved environmental governance in Solomon Islands in practice. First, we determine whether there are sources of leadership in addition to key individuals and organisations. We investigate the potential of organisations, policy and legislative instruments, and ideologies or discourses to enact leadership by influencing governance outcomes. Second, we establish how leadership varies across three different, potentially contested CTI goals – food security, biodiversity conservation and climate change adaptation – that in combination are expected to contribute to improved environmental governance. Third, we determine whether leadership can also disrupt or stall progress towards improved environmental governance outcomes. This paper aims to open up a broader debate about leadership research in environmental sciences – the empirical approach and evidence are illustrative rather than definitive.

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Journal Article
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Human Ecology
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15 Mar 2017 16:38
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:10