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The battle for hearts and minds? Evolutions in organisational approaches to environmental risk communication

Gouldson, Andrew, Lidskog, Rolf and Wester-Herber, Misse (2004) The battle for hearts and minds? Evolutions in organisational approaches to environmental risk communication. CARR Discussion Papers, DP 24. Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 075301744 X

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Abstract

In recent years there has been a great deal of discussion on the potential for a shift away from modernistic or technocratic approaches to decision-making on risk towards more open, inclusive and deliberative approaches. This paper adopts an approach which analyses not the social but the private costs and benefits of such a transition, and the influence that various institutional factors such as the presence of trust amongst stakeholders can have on these. With these factors in mind, the paper considers the reasons why some organisations have taken the first step in this transition by exploring the potential of what the paper terms more communicative approaches to environmental risk management. It then goes on to evaluate the early experiences with such approaches. The analysis finds that at the organisational level the pros and cons of opening up and engaging are quite finely balanced. For the organisations surveyed, the nature of their activities, the significance of formative events and the failure of more traditional forms of risk communication impelled them to experiment with new approaches to risk communication. Such experiments had mixed effects - in some contexts they enhanced the legitimacy of the organisations and built trust amongst stakeholders, whilst in others they did the opposite. The paper concludes by suggesting that in the long run a broader opening up of decision-making processes may result in what might be termed a reverse Phyrric victory: in some cases battles will be lost, but in the long run the war will be won.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/CARR
Additional Information: © 2004 The Authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
K Law > K Law (General)
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: DP 24
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2011 16:24
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/36063/

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