- Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Stakeholder Interaction in Participatory Land Restoration in Iceland: Environmental Officers' Challenges and Strategies
Berglund, Brita; Hallgren, Lars; Aradóttir, Ása L.
Participatory approaches involve stakeholder interaction but environmental agency employees engaged in participatory undertakings often lack training for interaction tasks. This study explored how district officers at the Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCSI) experienced and dealt with stakeholder interaction in participatory land restoration. We made semi-structured interviews with all district officers with at least 1-year experience; seven in total. A thematic content analysis revealed five challenges facing the officers in their interaction activities and seven strategies that they used to deal with these challenges. The core challenge was to establish and maintain contacts with farmers and other stakeholders as it enabled the SCSI to support and influence their land restoration practices. Other challenges were to: accomplish SCSI's objectives; represent the SCSI and the government; have adequate skills, knowledge, and background; and deal with one's own emotions. Four of the strategies seemed to promote collaboration: create win-win scenarios; "go local"; direct and positive communication; and motivation and knowledge sharing. The other strategies: supportive district officer team; self-reliance and personal background; and self-control supported the officers in their interaction tasks. Factors undermining their collaboration efforts included insufficient time and other resources, an unsupportive organizational culture and a legal duty to assess the condition of vegetation cover on farmland. Increased resource allocation to the SCSI's local operations, more attention to emotional issues, and efforts to develop a more flexible and learning organizational culture that supports collaboration could counteract these factors.
Collaboration; Land restoration; Participatory approaches; Environmental officers' experience; Stakeholder interaction
2015, Volume: 56, number: 2, pages: 519-531
Sustainable Development Goals
SDG15 Life on land
SDG16 Peace, justice and strong institutions
UKÄ Subject classification
Public Administration Studies
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