4
Organizational and Behavioral Issues

The following discussion extends the examination of lessons learned from the case studies and other examples and describes the organizational and behavioral issues the committee determined to be essential to successful marine area governance and management.

  • Marine area governance problems are complex but have certain predictable characteristics.

  • Complex problems necessarily involve a range of nonscientific issues having to do with communication, human behavior and motivation, and how people organize to deal with them.

  • Traditional hierarchical, bureaucratic approaches to problem solving are not appropriate to these types of situations.

  • Recent research into organizational structures and functions has much to offer, but no single organizational structure will solve all problems.

  • Guiding principles rather than organizational prescriptions can provide direction for problem solving in this arena.

COMPLEXITY OF GOVERNANCE PROBLEMS

The committee's three in-depth case studies and other examples of marine governance and management programs included such diverse issues as living resource management (Gulf of Maine), regional planning (Florida Keys), environmental monitoring (Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project), and the distribution and sharing of information (San Francisco Bay Demonstration Project). Virtually all of these situations were different in terms of key characteristics, such as



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas 4 Organizational and Behavioral Issues The following discussion extends the examination of lessons learned from the case studies and other examples and describes the organizational and behavioral issues the committee determined to be essential to successful marine area governance and management. Marine area governance problems are complex but have certain predictable characteristics. Complex problems necessarily involve a range of nonscientific issues having to do with communication, human behavior and motivation, and how people organize to deal with them. Traditional hierarchical, bureaucratic approaches to problem solving are not appropriate to these types of situations. Recent research into organizational structures and functions has much to offer, but no single organizational structure will solve all problems. Guiding principles rather than organizational prescriptions can provide direction for problem solving in this arena. COMPLEXITY OF GOVERNANCE PROBLEMS The committee's three in-depth case studies and other examples of marine governance and management programs included such diverse issues as living resource management (Gulf of Maine), regional planning (Florida Keys), environmental monitoring (Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project), and the distribution and sharing of information (San Francisco Bay Demonstration Project). Virtually all of these situations were different in terms of key characteristics, such as

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas historical background, initiating events, existing institutional framework(s), the roles played by federal agencies, local leadership style and capacity, scientific issues, and the availability and thoroughness of scientific information. The variety of problems and factors complicated the committee's attempt to establish guidelines for effective marine area governance. Despite their differences, the fundamental attributes of all of the situations were typical of complex policy and management problems. In general, these include: multiple aspects that interact in complex, often unpredictable, ways no simple, easily achievable solutions scientific uncertainties a large number of participants (or stakeholders) with different, often conflicting, priorities and perspectives either active conflicts or the residue of past conflicts competing claims for leadership and/or authority nonexistent, confusing, inappropriate, or overlapping regulatory and management mechanisms fluid, poorly defined, and unstable decision-making processes Clearly, situations with these attributes are poorly suited to the classic model of decision making (variously called ''formal," "instrumental," or "bounded" rationality), in which the advantages and disadvantages of well defined alternatives are analyzed and a decision is made by choosing one of them (Simon, 1957; March and Simon, 1958; Kalberg, 1980; Zey, 1992). Participants in several of the examples (e.g., Chesapeake Bay, Florida Keys, Oregon Rocky Shore, San Francisco Bay Demonstration Project, Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, Southern California OCS) stated that, in effect, they had had to invent the process as they went along. This was often true even when general programmatic guidelines were available (for the NMS and NEP). Thus, although many examples of successful governance could be described in hindsight as if they had been carefully planned, in fact they involved confusing, often chaotic, processes that required intuition, improvisation, and downright luck. This situation has also been observed in recent research on managerial decision making (Isenberg, 1985), which suggests that high-level managers faced with complex problems depend more on intuition than on formal, analytical processes. In fact, both the MMS regional director in southern California and the manager of the Florida Keys NMS, stressed the role "gut" feelings, flexibility, and improvisation played in their respective situations. Recognition of the complex nature of problems has contributed to fundamental changes in organizational theory and practice (Janowitz, 1959; Clark, 1985; Weick, 1985; Heydebrand, 1989; Miles and Snow, 1992). Rather than hierarchical control and a strict division of labor and responsibility, the new paradigm emphasizes a plurality of hierarchies that respond to a shifting network of mutual

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas constraints and interactive influences. Rather than viewing complex systems as aggregations of simpler units, components of complex systems are considered interdependent, with dynamic and idiosyncratic properties of their own and with a high potential for emergent properties. This paradigm emphasizes the importance of adaptation to changing and uncertain environments. The concept of adaptation, in turn, related the concepts of flexibility, changing boundaries among system parts, complexity, and surprise (Rochlin, 1989). Two of the case studies illustrate the distinction between the old and new approaches. In the Gulf of Maine, the formally defined catch allocation process allowed for participation by only a few stakeholders, prevented the adequate empowerment of scientists who had crucial information, and forced decisions to be made based on a restricted set of criteria. In contrast, the MMS in Southern California was free to create new decision forums and processes and to expand stakeholder involvement. As an aside, participants in the Alaska by-catch workshops were nearly unanimous in their conviction that the rigid, confrontational nature of the formal fisheries management process had prevented them from exploring creative solutions to industry-wide problems. The contrast between traditional and newer organizational paradigms has been summarized in terms of fundamental changes in the six characteristics listed in Box 4-1. The shift basically involves moving away from centrally coordinated, rigidly structured hierarchies toward more flexible structures (Mintzberg, 1983; Miles and Snow, 1992; Wilson et al., 1994; Becker and Ostrom, 1995). The remainder of this chapter discusses various elements in this shift and their implications for marine area governance. Because the committee documented fundamental shortcomings in traditional governance systems, these elements are discussed in terms of their roles in promoting change. Human Element in Governance Systems Governance systems examined for this study were found to be far more than simple mechanisms for decision making. Rather, they were forums for exploring problems, pursuing and resolving conflicts, eliciting and establishing values, establishing power arrangements, and negotiating solutions, among other things. These characteristics were apparent in both large- and small-scale examples. In other words, governance systems necessarily operate both through organizational structures and through people. In general, the degree of success reflected the ability of a system to address and resolve the issues listed above. Thus, for example, the development of the sanctuary in the Florida Keys provided ample opportunity for the participants to propose, establish, and modify power arrangements and pathways for suggesting and negotiating solutions. The intimate and unavoidable relationship between the process of governance and the organizational structures and mechanisms that embody it is complicated by the fact that organizations are dynamic systems that work not only to

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas BOX 4-1 Differences between Classical and Newer Organizations Contrasting Perspectives Classical Organizational Paradigm New Organizational Paradigm Simple vs. Complex System is the sum of its parts. Systems have emergent properties that cannot always be predicted. Hierarchic vs. Heterarchic There is a fixed hierarchy of problem components and organizational roles. Hierarchies are not rigidly defined and can change. Mechanical vs. Holographic System elements act as predictable, single-action functions. Elements constantly interact in complex ways. Determinate vs. Indeterminate System behavior is predictable. Systems behave in ambiguous and uncertain ways. Linear vs. Mutual Causality Results come from simple, linear chains of cause and effect Outcomes result from complex feedback and unclear/mutual causality. Objective vs. Perspective There is one "right" answer or point of view The "right" answer varies depending on the point of view, values, and other factors. Source: Adapted from Weick, 1985. accomplish their stated mission(s) but also to maintain certain reward and punishment systems, power relationships, hierarchies, and so on. The relationship between behavior at the organizational and individual levels is necessarily close. On the one hand, organizational structure and culture constrain, motivate, and direct individual behavior. On the other hand, individuals and their behavior embody the culture of the organization. Decision making, as well as attempts to change an organization's behavior, always results in losses and gains for its members on a wide range of axes (e.g., power, access to power, knowledge, status). Successful governance depends in large part on awareness of, sensitivity to, and management of this complex network of gains and losses.

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas Organizational Mission(s) and Goal(s) Each organization (and each part of an organization) has one or more missions that justify its existence. Sometimes these are clearly stated, and sometimes they are implicit in the organization's past history. In addition, an organization can present one face to the outer world and a different face to its members. For example, the stated mission may be to provide a particular constituency with specific services while the true, internal mission is, in fact, to safeguard the political prospects of high-level managers. (This duality can be true of governmental and business organizations.) Different combinations of implicit, explicit, external, and internal missions promote or constrain different kinds of behavior through a variety of mechanisms, including the organization's reward systems and its network of personal relationships and loyalties. Thus, changing the organization's core mission creates a great deal of tension because the mission is the rationale for making decisions and one means of resolving conflicts. In the Southern California study, it is clear that when the MMS regional director was promoting novel collaborative decision-making processes (i.e., changes in the agency's mission), he was perceived by the traditional MMS culture as a risk taker or "outlier." A complicating factor is that a whole hierarchy or tangle of missions may be associated with different levels or parts of an organization and/or with a charismatic leader. Conflicts and contradictions among these missions is often a major source of organizational dysfunction and poor performance. For example, the management of groundfish in the Gulf of Maine was severely hampered by the inability to reconcile two competing objectives of fisheries policy—protecting the fisheries resource on the one hand and safeguarding the economic health of the fishing industry on the other. In this case, written mission statements were not enough to overcome the informal but extremely powerful forces that promoted the short-term interests of the industry at the expense of the long-term health of the resource. Implicit and Explicit Reward Systems Reward systems are behavior modification "carrots" and "sticks" that persuade and/or compel members of an organization to act in accordance with its culture. Reward systems usually operate on both explicit and implicit levels. Within organizations, explicit rewards are embodied in policies that define career tracks, pay increases and/or bonuses, and disciplinary measures up to and including termination. In governance systems that include multiple organizations, explicit rewards can include access to natural resources, permit approvals, or a seat at the decision-making table. Implicit rewards are always embodied in behavior, that is, what actually happens as opposed to what is theoretically supposed to happen. Implicit reward systems are almost always more powerful and more

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas deeply rooted than explicit reward systems. Changing the ways an organization functions by addressing only explicit reward systems is often bedeviled by seemingly irrational behavior. In fact, people are merely responding to powerful, implicit rewards that remain in place and continue to exercise influence. Examples of how reward systems work can be taken from the case studies. In the preceding discussion of organizational missions, the regional MMS director was described as being insulated from the dominant reward system, which might have inhibited risk taking. In the case of the Maine lobster fishery, the bottom-up management regime explicitly strengthened traditionally important implicit rewards (e.g., identification with a specific place, personal relationships among fishermen, a sense of stewardship). In the San Francisco Bay Demonstration Project, a redefinition of the goals provided the justification for rewarding different behavior that helped accomplish the new mission. In fact, changes in reward systems can be powerful supporting elements to changes in an organization's mission; conversely, leaving an old reward system in place can doom changes in the mission. Existing Organizational Political Systems Power is derived, allocated, and wielded in a variety of ways in organizations. Many organizations mimic political systems in society at large. In Davenport et al. (1992), organizational political systems are categorized as utopian, monarchical, feudal, federal, or anarchical. Utopian systems assume that behavior is rational and that participants will work selflessly toward shared goals. Monarchical systems are characterized by centralized power that is delegated only under tight control. In feudal systems, power is distributed among a group of "barons" who negotiate temporary alliances and power-sharing arrangements on an ad hoc basis. Federal systems allocate both centralized and distributed power in clearly defined ways, with the center coordinating rather than controlling power. Anarchical systems are free-for-alls in which power goes to whoever can seize it and keep it. Categorizing the political systems in the various organizations the committee examined provides some insight into why they succeeded or failed. Several systems were predominantly federal in that the lead agencies guided, coordinated, and motivated participants. Federal systems included the Chesapeake Bay, the Florida Keys, Long Island Sound NEP, the Oregon shore, and the Southern California OCS. In these cases, the federal model was an important contributor to success. The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project provided an example of a combination of two political systems. When dealing with dischargers, over whom the Regional Water Quality Control Board had permit authority, the board set core goals and boundary conditions, while using a collaborative process to define a wide range of specific issues (a federal role). However, when the seafood tissue

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas monitoring program required that the California EPA assess health risk, the board established an ad hoc arrangement in which the California EPA, as the end user of monitoring data, defined the fundamental conceptual approach while the regional board retained control over implementation (a feudal role). Groundfish management in the Gulf of Maine can best be described as utopian. Its fundamental (and ultimately unrealistic) assumption that decisions would be based primarily on scientific information and its inability to account for and adapt to real-world behavior contributed to the failure of the fishery. Changes in organizational structure or function must be made in the context of existing political systems. Transitions between some styles are more difficult than others, and changes are not usually reversible. For example, any attempt by MMS to recentralize decision making for offshore oil and gas development in southern California would undoubtedly encounter intense resistance from local governments and citizens who have grown accustomed to playing a role in decision making. The type of political system is also closely related to reward systems, especially attitudes toward innovation and risk. Thus, utopian systems, which emphasize analysis, optimization, and technology, do not typically foster or support intuitive risk taking. This may explain why no innovative, "out of the box" steps were taken to rescue the fisheries in the Gulf of Maine. Finally, changes from one type of system to another may require extensive changes in personnel because people feel more comfortable with one kind of system than another. Existing Relationships and Loyalties Just as the political system reveals much about how power is wielded in an organization, the "shadow" system reveals the web of personal relationships and loyalties in an organization. The "shadow" system depends on such things as past history, personality, favors and obligations, and friendships and animosities, which have a more powerful influence on behavior than the outward political system. In specific situations, they often overwhelm larger-scale, more diffuse edicts of the political system. Organizational changes must therefore be made in light of the relationships among the individuals who play key roles. The examples the committee examined are replete with illustrations of the role of personal relationships in governance. For example, a senator and governor from Maryland were instrumental in creating a vision for regional management of Chesapeake Bay and in motivating others to help make it a reality. The MMS regional director in southern California and the manager of the Florida Keys NMS have already been mentioned as key figures in the case studies. In these three instances, the "policy entrepreneurs," rather than feeling constrained by the limitations of available governance mechanisms were able to use them and elaborate them to achieve unusual results. They were able to do so because of their personal credibility and their networks of personal relationships. In the Gulf of Maine case

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas study, by contrast, no dominant personalities emerged. In this case, no visible leaders arose to motivate and direct changes in existing governance systems. Attitudes toward Innovation and Risk Individuals, organizations, and groups of organizations (i.e., governance systems) differ markedly in their attitudes toward innovation and risk taking. Such attitudes are not permanent but are strongly influenced by prior experience, as well as by organizational missions and reward systems. For example, many corporations now attempt to encourage managerial risk taking by changing the criteria for rewarding job performance. They may, for example, put a greater percentage of a manager's pay "at risk" (i.e., dependent on bonuses and stock options) or include, and reward, risk taking as a core value. In the governance context, the attitude toward innovation and risk is important because changes involve new modes of behavior that, precisely because they are new, entail some risks. If reward systems discourage innovations and punish risk takers, changes will be harder to implement. In the southern California OCS, for example, the MMS regional director was perceived as a risk taker who was operating on the edge of the MMS culture. In contrast, innovations in the Long Island Sound case were encouraged by specifying only end goals for nitrogen reduction and leaving the methods up to local treatment plants. Risk taking can be fostered or inhibited by a wide range of organizational characteristics. For example, national conferences and workshops for NEP managers have helped to create a support network so managers feel less isolated and have a vehicle for trading stories about successes and failures. The Maine lobster fishery hopes to adapt the overall management plan to the specifics of each local area by leaving a range of decisions to the discretion of local management councils. Attitudes toward Information Ownership Information is always a key currency in organizations. It costs resources to develop; it is often crucial in decision making; and it can be used to support allies and attack rivals. It is not surprising, therefore, that the way information is controlled reflects the organization's theory of ownership and control. In some cases, information is considered the property of those who create it; at the other extreme, information can be viewed as belonging to the organization as a whole or to society at large. Access to and control over information are important for moving toward more collaborative decision making. For example, repeated assurances that all stakeholders had access to the same information was an important element in building trust in the southern California OCS case study. In a slightly different way, assurances that ongoing discussions about program design would

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas not be portrayed as "done deals" were important in reaching consensus in the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project. The ways information is shared within and among organizations also depend on the other axes, especially the political and reward systems and the networks of personal relationships and loyalties. There are usually important differences between an organization's overt policies toward information ownership and the ways these policies work in day-to-day practice. Understanding both policies and practices is crucial to changing organizational behavior, which inevitably involves changing the production, control, movement, and use of information. Morale Morale is a nebulous concept but can be loosely defined as the amount of credit, slack, energy, or resilience available to members of an organization to help them tolerate the stresses of change or uncertainty. Morale is difficult to quantify but is crucially important. In the Alaska by-catch case, morale temporarily rose as the result of an opportunity for stakeholders to cooperate on shared problems outside the constraints of the normal management arena. In the Florida Keys, a series of ship groundings raised morale in the sense that it energized residents of the Keys and motivated them to address common problems. In the Maine lobster case, fishermen's sense of attachment to specific fishing grounds increased their desire to see effective fisheries management implemented and their commitment to working through the legislative process. The level of morale should influence decisions about how changes are promoted. Sometime, the process of organizational change itself can raise or lower morale, often in unpredictable ways. In some cases, changes simply grind to a halt for no apparent reason when the morale "bank" runs out. The axes discussed above do not operate independently. Because they interact in complex and subtle ways, the behavior of a governance system is "overdetermined," that is, "it is the product of multiple, nonindependent factors whose influence depends in part on the fact that they are redundant" (Hackman, 1990). Changes in one axis necessarily cause changes in other axes. For example, shifting from a monarchical to a federalist political system in the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project entailed making parallel shifts in access to information, reward systems, and attitudes toward innovation. In addition, organizations are not homogeneous with respect to these axes. Different organizational part and/or levels, as well as different individuals, express each of these axes in different ways. Thus, an organizational culture is a diverse patchwork. Perhaps most important for improving marine area governance is an understanding of the differences between organizational structures. All of the issues and relationships come into play as the parts of a governance system interact. The southern California case study is in large part of chronicle of shifts and readjustments in power among federal, state, and local entities. One reason MMS was

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas successful in this turbulent environment was its persistence in building personal relationships, information sharing pathways, and implicit reward systems that bridged the gaps among these various entities. Conversely, in the Oregon rocky shore case study, the state's ability to keep federal agencies at bay was crucial to providing the freedom and flexibility necessary to create a regional planning mechanism. ALTERNATIVE MODELS OF GOVERNANCE SYSTEMS Traditional Bureaucratic Model The committee found that, until recently, governance and management in marine areas were usually organized and carried out according to a traditional bureaucratic model. This model (see Box 4-2) grew out of the 18th century Enlightenment view of nature as a collection of mechanistic systems with interchangeable parts that behave in understandable and predictable ways (Binswanger et al., 1990; Botkin, 1990; Sahl and Bernstein, 1995). Originally described by Max Weber (1947), the bureaucratic organization has standardized responsibilities, qualifications, communication channels, and work rules, as well as a clearly defined hierarchy of authority (Mintzberg, 1983). Classic hierarchical bureaucracies are ill-suited to addressing the complex problems currently confronting governance and management systems. Traditional bureaucracies attempt to solve problems of coordination by increasing standardization and proliferating rules. When unusual problems arise, their only recourse is direct supervision. There are at least three basic problems with classical bureaucracies. First, in unstable environments, where nonroutine events frequently arise (as they did in all of the examples the committee examined), the management levels of a bureaucracy become bogged down in supervising, adjudicating, and making new rules. this undermines their ability to think strategically or adaptively about the situation as a whole. Second, rigid, hierarchical pathways for the flow of information effectively prevent managers from receiving critically important information about how the environment is changing and how the organization is responding. Finally, the ability of a traditional hierarchy to deal with the "human elements" described in the preceding section is extremely limited. In short, bureaucracies are fundamentally nonadaptive (Mintzberg, 1983; Heydebrand, 1989). With the exception of the management of fisheries in the Gulf of Maine, none of the marine governance and management organizations examined for this study functioned like a traditional bureaucratic system. Participants were virtually unanimous in stressing the need for more flexibility, greater local involvement in formulating problems and making decisions, better access to information, and novel power-sharing arrangements. They had create new governance mechanisms (Chesapeake Bay), taken risks within existing management structures

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas BOX 4-2 Characteristics of Traditional Bureaucracies highly specialized routine operating tasks grouped by function coordination through standardization of procedures and direct supervision formal, hierarchical chain of authority relatively centralized power and decision making strong emphasis on division of labor in all its aspects very formalized procedures in the operating core proliferation of rules and regulations formalized communication throughout the organization elaborate administrative structure emphasis on controlling and eliminating uncertainty emphasis on smooth, efficient operation best suited to stable, predictable environments ill-suited to developing realistic strategies fundamentally nonadaptive Source: Mintzberg, 1983. (southern California OCS), implemented democratic decision making (Maine lobster), given local agency representatives greater autonomy (San Francisco Bay Demonstration Project), established collaborative decision-making processes within an existing bureaucratic permitting framework (Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project), and devised new forums outside the existing management structure (Alaska by-catch). Success in each case was attributable, in large part, to a willingness to abandon the traditional bureaucratic approach. In striking contrast, the Gulf of Maine case study was notable not only for the loss of fisheries resources but also for the absence of attempts at innovation within the existing management structure. The committee does not mean to attack classical hierarchical bureaucracies, some of which are highly efficient and effective when the environment is stable and problems can be dealt with through standardized tasks. However, the committee's review clearly showed that most governance situations in the rapidly evolving marine environment do not meet these criteria. In an analysis of organizational failures, Miles and Snow (1992) identify two underlying causes: logical extensions of existing structures that push the structure beyond the limits of its

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas capability, and modifications of structures, which, although reasonable on the surface, violate the basic operating logic of the structure. Thus, many governance problems arise when bureaucratic organizational models are applied in situations for which they are fundamentally inappropriate. The remainder of this chapter discusses alternatives to classical bureaucracy that might be more appropriate for marine area governance and management problems. Organizational Alternatives In the past decade, the growing awareness of the limitations of bureaucracies and an expanding body of research into organizational structure and behavior has led to the development of many different organizational models. These include structured divisions, various kinds of networks, adhocracies, ''virtual" organizations, federalist arrangements, dispersed nets, and ephemeral structures that come and go depending on circumstances (e.g., Mintzberg, Rochlin, 1989; 1983; Eisenberg, 1990; Roberts, 1993). Each model offers a different solution to the common problems organizations face, including: making decisions adapting to changing circumstances distributing power controlling and/or coordinating activities moving information and knowledge establishing standards learning from experience ensuring reliability resolving and/or suppressing conflicts surviving over time Although recent research has validated a wide range of potential solutions to these problems, it has not confirmed that any one of them is the right approach. Not surprisingly, different organizational forms are best suited to different situations and to different participants. However, the situations in the examples in this study do not cover the full range of possible situations. In the examples, extreme operational reliability, rapid and sustained innovation, precise coordination of far-flung activities, and rapid, real-time crisis management were rarely needed. The primary shortcomings of the existing marine area governance systems are related to the accumulation of laws, regulations, policies, and practices at the federal, state, an local levels and the array of agencies that try to implement and enforce them—operating in many instances with conflicting mandates. In many cases, federal policies and actions are controlled from Washington with little understanding of local conditions and needs. No mechanism exists for establishing

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas common visions and common objectives for individual coastal sectors. These shortcomings often lead to a lack of accountability, rigidity, lack of creativity, and continued conflicts among stakeholders. In contrast, the majority of successful governance examples the committee examined exhibited the following properties: a guiding, not controlling, role for centralized authority a high level of concern, involvement, and initiative at the local level delegation of problem-solving authority and power to the appropriate local level open access to and sharing of information collaborative decision-making processes The characteristics listed above mimic the distinctive characteristics of successful management systems in other contexts where complexity and uncertainty predominate (e.g., Rochlin, 1989; Eisenberg, 1990; Hutchins, 1990; Weick and Roberts, 1993; Roberts et al., 1994). Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that these characteristics, which sound simple in the abstract, can be ambiguous and complex in real situations. It is not always clear, for example, where the centralized authority is (or should be) among the federal, state, and local stakeholders involved in complex governance problems. In addition, sometimes the same agency plays multiple roles depending on the state of development of the governance process or the decision being made. For example, in the larger context of the NEP in Santa Monica Bay, the Regional Water Quality Control Board is a local decision maker. However, in the specific realm of permitting, compliance, and monitoring, the board is the central, coordinating agency, and decisions about specifics are the responsibility of other local decision makers. Similarly, the state of Maine behaved as a centralizing influence when it set trap limits for lobster fishermen throughout the state but behaved as a local decision maker when it negotiated a power-sharing arrangement with NMFS giving the state wider jurisdiction over the lobster fishery. Improving marine area governance will depend in large part on creating organizations with the five characteristics described above in the context of inherently complex specific situations. Dealing with Chaos Another key lesson that emerged from the examples the committee examined was the chaotic and unpredictable nature of successful governance processes. A striking observation by several participants was that although, in hindsight, they could be perceived as following a carefully planned path, at the time, they were involved in confusing, often chaotic, processes that required intuition, improvisation, and even luck. The participants also stressed that governance

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas problems were never completely solved but were dynamic and required ongoing management and adaptation. In short, establishing an appropriate organizational model does not obviate the chaos inherent in the governance and management of complex problems. In fact, they may even add to unpredictability because they dispense with predetermined scripts and leave much of the decision making to local participants. Therefore, eliminating the chaos and unpredictability in successful examples of governance is neither possible nor desirable. These characteristics are inherent in the very nature of complex governance problems and their solutions. In fact, efforts to reduce unpredictability through tighter planning, control, and supervision (i.e., more bureaucracy) can only make matters worse because they tend to restrict the flexibility, adaptability, direct local involvement, and the flow of information. Recent research, as well as findings from the case studies, suggest that creative problem solving in complex governance situations is greatly enhanced by the freedom to improvise within appropriate structures (Isenberg, 1985; Eisenberg, 1990; Bigelow, 1992). Research also strongly suggests that improvisation in decision making is most effective when it is based on a few generic precepts or rules of thumb rather than detailed procedures and requirements. Generic precepts provide direction, stimulus, and structure for creating solutions out of the particulars of a given situation. The following keys to success may be drawn from the case studies and other related experience: Plant carefully, but be prepared to adapt and improvise. Foster strong leadership, but depend on collaboration and shared decision making. Use existing institutions, but take advantage of the opportunity to create new forums. Use the existing authority of federal agencies as a starting point for encouraging them to behave in new ways. Information should be validated by one or a few credible sources but distributed as widely as possible. Encourage open and direct communication, but create multiple pathways for conversation and the flow of information. The apparent contradictions in these statements are only contradictions in terms. Classical organizational structures and functions have fixed hierarchies of elements that act in predictable ways through simple, additive chains of cause and effect. The contradictions resolve themselves when governance systems are understood to be composed of shifting hierarchies that constantly interact in ambiguous ways through complex feedback mechanisms.

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas For example, the sanctuary designation process used in the Florida Keys proceeded through a series of well defined steps that provided a solid structure for the planning process. Similarly, the NEP in both Long Island Sound and Santa Monica Bay laid out specific planning steps that furnished overall direction and guidance. However, these planning frameworks were only starting points that provided motivation and direction but did not determine the details of day-to-day, or tactical, activity. Local managers had plenty of room to tailor the processes to their needs. Perhaps the clearest example of adaptive planning the committee examined was by the regional MMS office in southern California, which explicitly planned for adaptability, even going so far as to train personnel to function effectively in an environment of uncertainty and collaborative decision making. Strong leadership is a necessary prerequisite for adaptive planning. The committee observed that the most effective leaders were capable of articulating and "selling" a clear picture of improved governance and were willing to share power in order to achieve it. For example, NOAA's NOS developed clear policy guidelines that supported the San Francisco Demonstration Project's efforts to provide better services to local industry and government. Often, strong leaders were able to build on the resources and authority of existing institutions. For example, regional regulatory agencies in both the Long Island Sound and Santa Monica Bay Estuary programs used their regulatory authority to modify traditional relationships with dischargers, thereby creating a fundamentally different environment for solving problems. Finally, successful governance typically fostered a distinctive style of communication among stakeholders. Gathering and using valid and credible information was emphasized. But distributing this information as widely as possible, through a variety of channels was emphasized. Thus, several agencies cooperated to develop a single body of scientific information for assessing the potential impacts of oil drilling in the Santa Barbara Channel in southern California. Similarly, a key aspect of the in-shore lobster management regime in Maine was the availability of scientific information useful to fishermen. Along with wide distribution of information, there was a willingness to create a variety of formal and informal (and often transient) forums for using it. This willingness created a climate for many kinds of useful discussion (e.g., exploration, negotiation, problem solving), often at the same time. Under these circumstances, an organization can anticipate and deflect crises rather than simply react to them (Rochlin, 1989). Sincere, sustained efforts are already under way within federal and state agencies to explore new organizational models and new approaches to governance. However, their efforts have been hampered in many instances by prevailing mindsets based on the assumptions of classical hierarchical bureaucracies. Although the successful governance structures in this study did not share a single organizational model, they were all characterized by a redefinition of roles, particularly of federal agencies, and a redistribution of power. Action was initiated and/or directed by people from the local area who understood the local problems

OCR for page 71
Striking a Balance: Improving Stewardship of Marine Areas and were determined to improve conditions by working together across existing organizational boundaries. A central guiding force was present in most examples the committee examined, but the bulk of the detailed, day-to-day decision making in the successful examples occurred at the local level. In other words, governance in these cases could be characterized as federalist, the same governance mode that characterizes the overall national structure.