Unleashing the Potential of Collaborative Governance Arrangements: Getting to Robust Durability in the Blackfoot Valley

Edward P. Weber


If collaborative governance arrangements are something to be valued and if they can help us to improve our ability to resolve collective action problems, then it behooves scholars to develop a good understanding of the elements associated with institutional durability. This paper focuses on the concept of robust durability because it captures the importance of problem-solving effectiveness as well as institutional durability. The problem, of course, is that the puzzle of durability is a difficult one to unlock given that collaboration is hard to do and robust durability even harder. The award winning, highly successful Blackfoot Challenge case of collaborative watershed management in Montana, however, offers lessons about robust durability across almost two decades. The lessons involve more than just institutional design, appropriate antecedent conditions, and a supportive external environment. Instead there are a series of variables wrapped up in the operational dynamic inside the collaborative that appear to matter most. Robust durability in the case of the Challenge relies on the character of the organization, continuity of leadership, a multi-faceted managerial strategy, and the application of a systematic fiscal strategy.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v5n7p35

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Journal of Sustainable Development   ISSN 1913-9063 (Print)   ISSN 1913-9071 (Online) Email: jsd@ccsenet.org

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