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Water 2017, 9(2), 130; doi:10.3390/w9020130

Where There Is No History: How to Create Trust and Connection in Learning for Transformation in Water Governance

Strategic Communication Group, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8130, 6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands
Applied Systems Thinking in Practice Group, School of Engineering and Innovation, The Open University, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
Department of Housing and Architecture, Faculty of Human Sciences and Design, Japan Women’s University, 2-8-1 Mejirodai, Bunkyou-ku, Tokyo 112-8681, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Richard Smardon
Received: 3 October 2016 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 February 2017 / Published: 19 February 2017
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Trust is often seen as an important element in settings of knowledge sharing and the co-creation of knowledge for dealing with transformations in water governance. However, seemingly similar conversations during a co-creation workshop in Uppsala resulted in both trust and distrust, and thereby influenced consequent possibilities for the co-creation of knowledge. Therefore, this article focuses on how trust influences knowledge sharing and how knowledge sharing influences trust. We use a case study approach to analyze the Uppsala co-creation workshop—part of the Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance (CADWAGO) project—by comparing 25 conversations, making use of theories on swift trust and trust dynamics. We found four different conversation patterns (1) sending; (2) defending; (3) misunderstanding; and (4) connecting. The first three patterns influenced trust negatively and did not lead to knowledge sharing, whereas pattern four showed trust development and co-creation of knowledge. From our comparative analyses, we conclude that trust starts to emerge when there is mutual openness and empathy visible in turn-taking patterns. More specifically, trust emerges when communication styles allow for recognition and exploring underlying needs and wishes, resulting in a more dynamic dialogue, further trust development, and connection between actors. Our list of conversation patterns is provisional but we argue that understanding how different kinds of interactions can lead to trust or distrust is crucial to understanding why and how learning takes place—insights that are essential for fostering learning and transformations in water governance. View Full-Text
Keywords: trust dynamics; climate change adaptation and water governance (CADWAGO); knowledge sharing and use; swift trust; social learning trust dynamics; climate change adaptation and water governance (CADWAGO); knowledge sharing and use; swift trust; social learning

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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de Vries, J.R.; van Bommel, S.; Blackmore, C.; Asano, Y. Where There Is No History: How to Create Trust and Connection in Learning for Transformation in Water Governance. Water 2017, 9, 130.

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