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Communication in Natural Resource Management: Agreement between and Disagreement within Stakeholder Groups

Wouter de Nooy, Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR), University of Amsterdam


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Communication among stakeholders is commonly held to improve agreement on facts and management goals. Results from statistical network analyses of six natural resource management systems indicate that the effects of communication depend on context. If communication affects stakeholder knowledge and values, it fosters agreement between stakeholder groups but it results in more disagreement within stakeholder groups. In addition, more centralized communication networks have more disagreement, especially within stakeholder groups, while co-management systems have more disagreement between stakeholder groups. The results may reflect communication effects but also selection effects: the propensity of stakeholders or management systems to establish communication ties between participants with dissimilar knowledge and values. In addition, the results may be linked to different phases in the management process. The conclusion includes a reflection on the need for further research to address these possibilities.

Key words

communication networks; interpersonal communication; network autocorrelation; natural resource management; stakeholder groups

Copyright © 2013 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087