An Analytical Framework for Investigating Complex Institutions in Climate Change Adaptation: The Institutional Environment Matrix

  • Sining C. CuevasEmail author
  • Ann Peterson
  • Tiffany Morrison
Living reference work entry


This chapter introduces the institutional environment matrix (IEM), a diagnostic and planning framework designed to analyze complex institutional environments and determine the institutional fit of climate change adaptation responses. The framework argues that the institutional environment is comprised of rules, social structures, and organizations. It establishes the vital role of institutional arrangements in characterizing the functions and functional interdependencies of institutions. The IEM framework has a dual layer design that allows complex institutional relationships to be examined across scales. The institutional environment layer is a comprehensive inventory of institutions that outlines institutional complexities. The institutional matrix layer is the system of institutional arrangements that determines the functional interdependencies of institutions. The matrix explores institutional interplay in relation to several general institutional functions: reducing uncertainty, connecting individuals to society, fostering adaptive capacity, and mobilizing resource utilization. By providing a structure to examine complex institutional relationships, the IEM is a significant innovation for assessing the institutional fit of and interplay between existing and planned climate change adaptation responses. This framework may also be used as an analytical tool in adaptation planning and evaluation.


Institutions Institutional environment Climate change adaptation Analytical framework 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sining C. Cuevas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ann Peterson
    • 1
  • Tiffany Morrison
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Geography, Planning and Environmental ManagementThe University of QueenslandSt. LuciaAustralia

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