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Water 2018, 10(3), 346; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10030346

Exploring the Role of Relational Practices in Water Governance Using a Game-Based Approach

1
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
2
Centre for Systems Solutions, Wroclaw 50-305, Poland
3
Faculty of Finance and Accounting, WSB University in Wroclaw, Wroclaw 53-609, Poland
4
Faculty of Economics, Wroclaw University of Economics, Wroclaw 53-345, Poland
5
School of Natural Resources, Nebraska Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
6
Department of Biological Sciences, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX 76049, USA
7
Department of Biology and Agriculture, University of Central Missouri, Warrensburg, MO 64093, USA
8
School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68583, USA
9
Department of Subsurface Geobiological Analysis and Research, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science & Technology, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 237-0061, Japan
10
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA
11
HDR, Inc., Omaha, NE 68114, USA
12
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna 1180, Austria
13
Faculty of Psychology & Educational Sciences, KU Leuven, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
14
Department of Geography, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 13 March 2018 / Published: 20 March 2018
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Abstract

The growing complexity and interdependence of water management processes requires the involvement of multiple stakeholders in water governance. Multi-party collaboration is increasingly vital at both the strategy development and implementation levels. Multi-party collaboration involves a process of joint decision-making among key stakeholders in a problem domain directed towards the future of that domain. However, the common goal is not present from the beginning; rather, the common goal emerges during the process of collaboration. Unfortunately, when the conflicting interests of different actors are at stake, the large majority of environmental multi-party efforts often do not reliably deliver sustainable improvements to policy and/or practice. One of the reasons for this, which has been long established by many case studies, is that social learning with a focus on relational practices is missing. The purpose of this paper is to present the design and initial results of a pilot study that utilized a game-based approach to explore the effects of relational practices on the effectiveness of water governance. This paper verifies the methods used by addressing the following question: are game mechanisms, protocols for facilitation and observation, the recording of decisions and results, and participant surveys adequate to reliably test hypotheses about behavioral decisions related to water governance? We used the “Lords of the Valley” (LOV) game, which focuses on the local-level management of a hypothetical river valley involving many stakeholders. We used an observation protocol to collect data on the quality of relational practices and compared this data with the quantitative outcomes achieved by participants in the game. In this pilot study, we ran the game three times with different groups of participants, and here we provide the outcomes within the context of verifying and improving the methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: serious games; social simulation; social learning; relational practices; river basin management; water governance; multi-party collaboration; stakeholders; experimental social research serious games; social simulation; social learning; relational practices; river basin management; water governance; multi-party collaboration; stakeholders; experimental social research
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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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Magnuszewski, P.; Królikowska, K.; Koch, A.; Pająk, M.; Allen, C.; Chraibi, V.; Giri, A.; Haak, D.; Hart, N.; Hellman, M.; Pan, D.; Rossman, N.; Sendzimir, J.; Sliwinski, M.; Stefańska, J.; Taillieu, T.; Weide, D.M.; Zlatar, I. Exploring the Role of Relational Practices in Water Governance Using a Game-Based Approach. Water 2018, 10, 346.

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