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Management Speak

Indigenous Knowledge and Bureaucratic Engagement

Sally Babidge, Shelley Greer, Rosita Henry and Christine Pam

In this article we examine the concept of 'indigenous knowledge' as it is currently used in resource management discourse. In the process of engaging with government agents and researchers in the bureaucracy of resource management, indigenous knowledge is a powerful concept in the legitimization of local indigenous practice as well as the recognition of resource and socio-environmental management aspirations. Our use of the phrase 'management speak' frames our analysis of these bureaucratic engagements as process (management) and dialogue, rather than a 'space'. We do so in order to gain insights into the politics and practice of these engagements that might go beyond recognition of indigenous interests and toward more practical approaches. Our discussion draws on research conducted at Yarrabah Aboriginal Community in northern Queensland in relation to marine resource management in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

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Rationalizing Strategy

Game Theory in Management Pedagogy and Practice

Daniel Breslau

Since the 1980s, game theory has become a standard feature of management school curricula, treated extensively in textbooks and core courses in managerial economics and competitive strategy. It promises a formal and rational set of procedures for formulating decisions in situations of dynamic interaction. I suggest that the appeal, and key symbolic effect of game theory is not due to its actual influence on the decisions reached. Rather, it is due to the reframing of decisions and the contexts in which they are made, in terms of the framework of game theory. When strategic action is formulated and justified in terms of game theory, the theory serves as a kind of sociodicy, a social theory which justifies suffering as a necessary evil. I suggest that the increased appeal of game theory since the 1980s has to do with changes in the social organization and managerial culture of corporations.

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Selina Stead, Tim Daw and Tim Gray

This article reviews methods used in the increasing use of fishers' knowledge in contemporary fisheries management. During the last one hundred years, fisheries science has been used extensively to inform management decisions for the regulation of sea fisheries. However, the decline of many fish stocks has cast doubt on the sufficiency of fisheries science, and has led to demands from fishers that their own expertise—fishers' knowledge—should be taken into account in decision-making. In this article, we examine four case studies of such attempts to take account of fishers' knowledge in the management of North Sea fisheries, comparing their different methods of identifying and using fishers' expertise, and assessing their respective outcomes. Our conclusion is that the value of fishers' knowledge improves according to the extent to which the method of obtaining it is participative and interactive.

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Niki Frantzeskaki, Jill Slinger, Heleen Vreugdenhil and Els van Daalen

This article presents the reframing of flood management practices in the light of social-ecological systems governance. It presents an exploratory theoretical analysis of social-ecological systems (SES) governance complemented by insights from case study analysis. It identifies a mismatch between the goals of the underlying ecosystem paradigms and their manifestation in management practice. The Polder Altenheim case study is an illustration of the consequences of flood management practices that do not match their underlying paradigm. The article recommends two institutional arrangements that will allow institutions to increase their capacity to co-evolve with SES dynamics: (a) institutional arrangements to ensure and enable openness in actor participation, and (b) institutional arrangements to enable updating of the management practices in response to SES dynamics.

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Asta Vonderau

Drawing upon ethnographic data, this article investigates the effects of a new online campus management system in one of the largest universities in Germany. It shows the various ways in which this technological innovation influenced students', teachers' and administrative personnel's relations and everyday working practices and how it is influential in the reorganisation of university structures. The online management system is regarded as an important part of an emerging infrastructure of excellence, which materialises the changing understanding of qualitative studies and teaching. Findings show that the online management supports standardised and economised study, teaching and administrative practices and silences creativity and flexibility. However, these standardisations are negotiated and questioned by the actors involved.

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Sustainable Forest Management

The Role of Government Agencies, NGOs, and Local Communities in Western Australia

Leonie van der Maesen and Timothy Cadman

This article details the engagement by the Department of Physical Geography of Utrecht University in the Netherlands with rural communities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to assist them in gaining a better understanding of the environmental impacts of the management practices of the governmental forest authorities of the state of Western Australia in pursuit of international timber exports. The study commences with a description of the unique characteristics of WA’s forest communities. It continues with an account of governmental international forest policy norms and the discourse of sustainable forest management (SFM). This is followed by a delineation of the interactions between the academic community and civil society in their engagement with governmental departments in arguing the case for conservation. The final section makes some concluding observations on the lessons that can be learned from the failure of the state government to ensure the sustainable management of the forests of Western Australia.

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Menno W. Straatsma and Reinier J.W. de Nooij

Integrated river management is heralded as the new style of river management, but it has been preceded by a number of previous styles, and is unlikely to be the last. This article presents the first analysis of the evolution of river management using Spiral Dynamics (SD). SD provides a growth hierarchy of value systems (vMemes), reflecting increasing complexity and inclusiveness ranging from instinctive to holistic. Based on an interpretation of literature and policy documents, we conclude that (1) SD provides a broad interpretative framework that can be applied in all river basins, (2) river management in the Netherlands shows the subsequent dominance of the blue, orange, and green vMeme, yellow is at the take-off phase, (3) further transition to yellow integrated river management requires identification of barriers to change. We give an overview and policy implications. Further research should be oriented towards quantification of vMemes in stakeholders and landscaping measures.

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Helle Bundgaard

This article discusses the approach to the management of change taken by a Danish university when introducing a university-wide market for education and it explores the different positions taken by some of the central stakeholders in one of the faculties involved. I argue that neither the inadequacies of a popular management model nor insufficient communication fully explain the problems with the change project. Based on strategy papers, memorandums and detailed observations of meetings, I discuss the introduction of the education market and analyse the reception given by directors of studies to a specific social technology, a common year and timetable structure. I offer an explanation of their reactions that draws on an anthropological approach to organisations. I call for university leaders to take what I call an 'improvisational' approach to leadership, which takes account of local ways of interpreting the meaning and significance of large-scale changes and works through professional motivation.

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Bisan Salhi

This article first describes the unique place of emergency medicine (EM) within the American healthcare system. Second, it examines the uncertainty that underlies the practice of emergency medicine. It then describes how risk is perceived, negotiated and minimised by emergency physicians in their day-to-day practice. Finally, it explores how the management of medical risk is related to the establishment of trust within the physician–patient interaction and to the construction of the 'competent physician'. In caring for patients, the emergency physician must minimise risk and instil trust within a pressured, time-sensitive environment. Consequently, the management of risk and display of competence to patients are simultaneously accomplished by symbolic representations, the use of medical diagnostic tools in decision-making, and narrative construction within the clinical interaction.

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A Crystal Ball for Forests?

Analyzing the Social-Ecological Impacts of Forest Conservation and Management over the Long Term

Daniel C. Miller, Pushpendra Rana and Catherine Benson Wahlén

Citizens, governments, and donors are increasingly demanding better evidence on the effectiveness of development policies and programs. Efforts to ensure such accountability in the forest sector confront the challenge that the results may take years, even decades, to materialize, while forest-related interventions usually last only a short period. This article reviews the broad interdisciplinary literature assessing forest conservation and management impacts on biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and poverty alleviation in developing countries. It emphasizes the importance of indicators and identifies disconnects between a rapidly growing body of research based on quasi-experimental designs and studies taking a more critical, ethnographic approach. The article also highlights a relative lack of attention on longer-term impacts in both of these areas of scholarship. We conclude by exploring research frontiers in the assessment of the impacts of forest-related interventions with long incubation periods, notably the development of predictive proxy indicators (PPIs).