Environmental Management

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 321–334 | Cite as

Learning to Network and Networking to Learn: Facilitating the Process of Adaptive Managementin a Local Response to the UK's National AirQuality Strategy

  • Mark Stubbs
  • Mark Lemon


The adaptive management leitmotiv of “learning to manage and managing to learn” sets out an attractive agenda for dealing with the overwhelming complexity of environmental phenomena that humans have problematized. To ensure that this rallying cry translates into effective action, it is important to give consideration to structures and procedures for facilitating the efforts of those willing or able to respond to the adaptive management call. To date, calls to establish the right organization to coordinate multiagency responses have tended to emphasize the noun, or bounded-entity, sense of the word organization. We believe that this is at the expense of its other, verb or process, connotation. In this paper, rather than searching for the perfect organization structure that mandates mutual trust and collective action shaped by all relevant parties' perspectives and possible contributions, we direct attention towards the process of nurturing integrated adaptive responses among individuals who have diverse organizational allegiances. By shifting the balance towards the process connotation of the right organization, we hope that a new mindscape can be discerned for those interested in putting adaptive management principles into practice. We seek to conjure up an image of this mindscape through the phrase “learning to network and networking to learn,” and set out to strengthen this by demonstrating how adaptive response networks can arise from the mutually defining relationship between stakeholders and issues. This is demonstrated through a local response to the United Kingdom's National Air Quality Strategy.

KEY WORDS: Adaptive management; Organization; Network; Learning; Creativity; Air quality 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Stubbs
    • 1
  • Mark Lemon
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Management and Business, The Manchester Metropolitan University, Aytoun Street, Manchester, M1 3GH, UKGB
  2. 2.International Ecotechnology Research Centre, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire, MK43 0AL, UKGB

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