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Global Environmental Change: Understanding the Human Dimensions
bureaucratic politics, organizational hierarchy, bargaining and negotiation processes, leadership practices, and the control of information by constituent individuals and subunits with goals only partly coincident with those of the organization as a whole (Seidman and Gilmour, 1986; March and Olsen, 1989). Decisions are influenced by relationships between organizations, for example, in international environmental agreements, interagency negotiations, lobbying coalitions, and even large industrial firms that must weigh the positions of their marketing, manufacturing, engineering, and legal departments in deciding whether to change to a more environmentally benign manufacturing process. Decisions are also affected by the structure of institutions—the systems of rights and rules that constrain the actions of individual parties. Examples include the effects of such institutions as markets for land and energy, land tenure systems, the law of property rights and torts, representative government, and international regimes (discussed in the next section).
Research Needs The organizational decision-making perspective points to a number of areas in which the general concepts in the field might be usefully applied to organizational actions affecting response to global change. For instance, informative studies could be done on how organizational understanding of environmental issues develops; how intraorganizational factors affect the responses of corporations, government agencies, and national political systems to global change; and how bargaining, rivalries, informal norms, and other processes of influence between organizations affect organizational responses to global change. An area of more pointed interest is the comparative study of environmental decisions in different institutional contexts. To gain understanding of the consequences of global change, it is important to understand the effects of different systems of land tenure on deforestation, of different national regulatory systems on the control of atmospheric pollutants, and of different systems of property rights in subsurface resources on policies to limit extraction of fossil fuels.
Sustained international cooperation is one essential element in the overall human response to global environmental changes. It is essential because efforts to cope with some large-scale environmental changes such as ozone depletion and global warming seem