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Beyond Consensus

Beyond Consensus: Improving Collaborative Planning and Management

Richard D. Margerum
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 416
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Consensus
    Book Description:

    Collaborative approaches are increasingly common across a range of governance and policy areas. Single-issue, single-organization solutions often prove ineffective for complex, contentious, and diffuse problems. Collaborative efforts allow cross-jurisdictional governance and policy, involving groups that may operate on different decision-making levels. In Beyond Consensus, Richard Margerum examines the full range of collaborative enterprises in natural resource management, urban planning, and environmental policy. He explains the pros and cons of collaborative approaches, develops methods to test their effectiveness, and identifies ways to improve their implementation and results. Drawing on extensive case studies of collaborations in the United States and Australia, Margerum shows that collaboration is not just about developing a strategy but also about creating and sustaining arrangements that can support collaborative implementation. Margerum outlines a typology of collaborative efforts and a typology of networks to support implementation. He uses these typologies to explain the factors that are likely to make collaborations successful and examines the implications for participants. The rich case studies in Beyond Consensus--which range from watershed management to transportation planning, and include both successes and failures--offer lessons in collaboration that make the book ideal for classroom use. It is also designed to help practitioners evaluate and improve collaborative efforts at any phase. The book's theoretical framework provides scholars with a means to assess the effectiveness of collaborations and explain their ability to achieve results.The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-29860-5
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. I Introduction

    • 1 What Is Collaboration?
      (pp. 3-18)

      There are places that you can easily fall in love with. Aimlessly floating down the Lower Wisconsin River past sandy beaches, you find yourself gazing up at the thickly forested hillsides. Your trance is only interrupted when your fellow canoeists find another sandy beach to stop at for a swim. But you are not the only one. Each year about four hundred thousand people spend a day on the river swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, picnicking, and visiting attractions such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin school.¹ Located within a few hours’ drive of Chicago, Minneapolis, Madison, and Milwaukee, the area is...

    • 2 Typologies for Collaboration
      (pp. 19-46)

      The Long Tom Watershed Council is a collaborative stakeholder group working to improve the water quality and restore habitat across 410 square miles in western Oregon. The group is led by a twelve-member steering committee, which is composed of a cross section of people with interests in the watershed. Operating by consensus, the group has worked over a number of years to build trust among diverse interests, agree on watershed conditions and restoration priorities, and ultimately help improve ecological conditions. On the first Thursday of every month, the steering committee meets in a small red building owned by the Bureau...

  6. II Consensus Building

    • 3 Convening Collaboratives
      (pp. 49-82)

      Every collaborative has a story. Sometimes it is a story about conflict and controversy. At other times it is a story about a new vision for an old problem. And sometimes it is a story about a leader going around to meet with others and seek out their participation in a new way to address old problems. Some stories involve all of these elements. The key is that there are conditions, processes, and reasons behind the convening of a collaborative. The way in which this convening process transpires can have a positive or negative effect on the ability of a...

    • 4 Stakeholder Deliberation and Public Participation
      (pp. 83-116)

      On a warm, sunny morning in April 2006, the Southern Willamette Groundwater Management Advisory Committee—affectionately known as the “gwa-ma”—was hurriedly trying to wrap up its business. The committee included a cross section of elected officials, community members, businesspeople, and other stakeholders who were called together to develop a plan for addressing nitrate contamination in groundwater. It was 10:05 a.m., five minutes past the meeting’s appointed ending time, and the facilitator was attempting to push through a final agenda item about measuring progress and approaches to implementation. The committee members expressed many different views on the implementation issues, including...

    • 5 High-Quality Collaboration Products
      (pp. 117-142)

      In 1994, the state of Queensland finalized the Regional Framework for Growth Management—a regional plan developed collaboratively by state agencies and eighteen local governments. The initiative grew out of concerns about the impacts of rapid growth, including the loss of open space due to development. Yet the process also created significant controversy, which led to a plan with vague goals and objectives, and few means for carrying it out. For example, one of the objectives called on councils to develop and adopt local planning policies that include “advice on optionsavailable for the protection on vegetation of freehold [private]...

  7. III Beyond Consensus

    • 6 Sustaining Collaboratives
      (pp. 145-180)

      This book focuses on collaborative efforts that involve ongoing implementation with adaptation based on feedback. The form of these ongoing collaboratives will vary. Some are community-based entities that depend entirely on volunteers. Some collaboratives are associations or nonprofit organizations with employees. Other collaboratives are “sponsored” by one or more organizations through funding or staff secondment. Finally, some are created as government-based collaborative organizations or “collaborative superagencies” (Sabatier, Focht et al. 2005). As ongoing entities, all collaboratives face a range of challenges in sustaining their efforts.

      In discussing a collaborative’s ongoing role, it is important to recognize that a group may...

    • 7 Producing Results through Social Networks
      (pp. 181-206)

      On numerous occasions when I have met with collaboratives working in a community, they have cited the importance of social networks for implementing their work. The first time I noticed the role of these networks was in 1995, when I was visiting a streambank restoration project with a catchment coordinator in Queensland. We drove out to the landowner’s farm in a dusty flatbed pickup called a “ute.” We arrived to find the landowner pulling weeds around an assortment of small saplings planted on a streambank. The landowner proudly showed off the project, describing how the erosion had been undercutting the...

    • 8 Producing Results through Interorganizational Networks
      (pp. 207-234)

      In the 1990s when I was working with the Wisconsin DNR, one of our administrator’s goals was to improve support for the collaborative activities of the agency (Besadny 1991; Margerum 1995b).¹ The department was a large agency responsible for both resource management (e.g., forests, water resources, and parks) and environmental protection (e.g., water quality, air quality, and solid and hazardous waste). This dual responsibility created internal coordination issues, and the size and breadth of the organization often made this complicated. My first role with the agency was to research some of its exemplary collaboration efforts to help guide staff and...

    • 9 Producing Results through Political Networks
      (pp. 235-256)

      During 2008–2009, several prominent collaborative efforts that I had been following faced dramatic turning points. In the Murray Darling basin, continued degradation and drought led to a significant shift in management from a collaborative model to a regional agency with new powers. In the United States, the state-federal effort to address critical ecological issues in the CALFED case was quickly unraveling. At the same time, policy-level efforts in metropolitan San Diego and metropolitan Denver continued to be sustainable, with varying levels of results.

      One of the factors important in all these cases was the ability (or inability) of the...

  8. IV Synthesis

    • 10 The Translation to Practice
      (pp. 259-288)

      As a researcher who has often had one foot in academia and another in professional work, I have been interested in the interaction between theory and practice. Theory provides an important perspective that doesn’t fully explain practice but instead can supply a critical lens that allows practitioners to critique, analyze, and improve their work. In turn, practice presents new challenges, questions, and issues for theory.

      The tidiness of the chapters presented in this book belies the complications describing the many variations and unique conditions that influence the work of collaboratives. These complications frequently create a gap between the theory and...

    • 11 The Future of Collaboration
      (pp. 289-306)

      During my year as a visiting researcher in Brisbane, I sat at a desk overlooking a courtyard lined with palm trees. This subtropical climate has been one of the factors leading to more than twenty years of substantial growth in South East Queensland. Yet the climate in the region didn’t seem very subtropical during my stay. I was amazed to learn that the region had not had a significant tropical storm since I moved away from Brisbane seven years earlier. Years of drought combined with the addition of thousands of new residents led to dramatic water restrictions. Furthermore, urbanization and...

  9. Appendix: Research Methods
    (pp. 307-322)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 323-332)
  11. References
    (pp. 333-358)
  12. Index
    (pp. 359-395)