Personality types in natural resource management

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RESEARCH AREA
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This week’s featured research article has just been published in Regional Environmental Change and examines the role of organisational personalities in natural resource management. The researchers state that preparing for climate change represents a significant challenge to environmental managers and is influenced by their ability to access and use the latest information. The specific challenge faced by NRM organisations around Australia and elsewhere includes access to latest scientific research to support them in their endeavours to build the productivity and profitability of landholders within their region to cope and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Some resource-users appear better able to cope and adapt than others, and many NRM organisations are struggling to keep abreast of the latest developments in the climate adaptation space. This research explores the utility of concepts from personality research to improve understanding of stakeholder capacity. Specifically, eight potential climate-related personality ‘axes’ for natural resource management organisations were defined.  The researchers surveyed 80% of Australia’s 56 regional NRM organisations to characterise their traits in relation to these axes. Through cluster analysis and trait mapping, they defined six NRM ‘personality types’. Five organisational personality axes were also important in defining personality type: where information is sourced, strategic skill sets for learning and reorganising, perceptions of risk and the ability to manage for uncertainty, perceptions of the role of NRM groups, and strategies for engagement. Identifying NRM personality type allows organisations to identify and capitalise on their strengths to target their adaptation efforts to maximise success. Through recognising the range of capacities of NRM organisations and their different information needs, the researchers anticipate that better progress might be achieved towards supporting NRM organisations and achieving adaptation to climate change in Australia and elsewhere. The article can be downloaded here (or email jennie.fluin@sa.gov.au for a copy).