Sustainable development : the question of integration and coordination

Muller, K. (2004-09)

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It could be argued that the quest for integration is at the core of sustainable development implementation issues. Although there is no simple answer to the integration challenge there is no doubt that organisational integration and coordination comprise a critical ingredient in any prescription package. The reasons why it is difficult to achieve integration is encapsulated by the notion of the ‘limits to governance’ which describe the organisational complexities and constraints facing traditional governance. At the basic theoretical level the interactions between organisations are explained in terms of the two organising principles of competition and collaboration, while coordination could be a product of three alternative modes of governance. The general acceptance of the idea that a decentralised set of formal and informal agreements among diverse groups and organisations in the form of networks and partnerships holds the most promising institutional prospect, is explored in from two angles: firstly from a macro perspective considering the changing role of the state and secondly a bottom-up perspective focusing on the notion of organisational innovation in resource management. Finally some conclusions are drawn as to the prospects of networks being able to achieve integration and coordination in environmental management.

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