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Furthering the understanding of the adaptation space of organizations: A case study of adaptation to climate change within the Water Supply and Waste Water sector of the Stockholm Region.
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates the adaptation to climate change that is taking place in the WaterSupply and Waste Water (WSW) sector of the Stockholm Region. The adaptation processis analyzed in terms of building adaptive capacity and implementing adaptive decisions.Theories on organizational learning and the concept of an organization’s adaptation spaceare used to understand the factors that influence the adaptation process and the capacityof the studied WSW organizations to adapt to climate change. A case study approach hasbeen used and by focusing the research on four regional WSW organizations – thatcomprise a majority of the region’s WSW activities – it is argued that conclusionsrelevant to the region’s WSW sector as a whole can be made. Semi-structured interviewswith the complete management board – in three out of four organizations – and officialdocuments and reports, are the main sources of primary data for the analysis.The results show that adaptation to climate change is occuring in the WSW sector of theStockholm Region. The adaptation is mainly taking the form of building adaptivecapacity and there is only limited evidence of implementation of adaptive decisions. Theresearch suggests that there are few technical and organizational limitations foradaptation to take place and that the main factors influencing the adaptation space of thesector is how the climate change issue and risks are interpreted and perceptions of howthe WSW organizations should function and use their limited economical resources. Twoconclusions are drawn from these results: first, factors influencing the feasibility andattractiveness of different adaptation options need to be included and analysed in order tounderstand the actual adaptation space of an organization. Second, due to the factorsidentified as influencing the adaptation space, it is unlikely, at present, that robustinfrastructure solutions – which have been suggested in the literature as a viable way todeal with the intrinsic uncertainties related to climate change – can be implemented in theWSW sector of the Stockholm Region solely due to concerns of climate change.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 76 p.
Keyword [en]
Adaptation space, building adaptive capacity, implementing adaptive decisions, water supply and waste water sector
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-41253OAI: diva2:329206
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2010-07-08 Created: 2010-07-08 Last updated: 2010-07-08Bibliographically approved

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