Animating inter-organisational resilience communication: a participatory social network analysis of water governance in the UK

Abstract

Resilience as a concept and resilience assessment as a practice are being explored across a range of social, ecological and technical systems. In this paper, we propose a new method and visualisation approach for interrogating the communication of resilience within organisational networks, using participatory social network analysis and message passing. Through an examination of the UK water sector organisational network, represented by multiple co-produced network graphs, we identify organisations having a key role in the communication of resilience regulatory and evidence messages, as well as highlighting the potential role of complexity tools in strategy formulation. Animations are presented showing the dynamics of resilience communication, which is discussed. Reflections on the use of participatory social network analysis are explored, as the method opens new doors to potentially examine how network changes could alter communication. Key insights highlight that perceived responsibilities for resilience in the UK water sector rest with a small core of organisations; water customers play a limited role in the two-way communication of resilience and water sector organisations do not communicate widely on resilience with other sectors (such as energy). Additionally, who an organisations’ neighbours are and what catalyses a message to be passed are important in determining how quickly messages spread. Results lead to a recommendation that high level governmental and policy organisations should engage to a greater extent with new resilience knowledge and consider the use of complexity tools in policy making. Policy in relation to resilience is not keeping pace with such knowledge, limiting the communication and learning of organisations who ardently follow policy and regulation. For inter-organisational cooperation to make a difference to water governance, such organisations need to be encouraged to communicate and embed the latest approaches in relation to resilience and complexity thinking and practice.

Description

open access article

Keywords

Citation

Ward, S. et al. (2020) Animating inter-organisational resilience communication: a participatory social network analysis of water governance in the UK. Heliyon, 6 (10), E05069

Rights

Research Institute

Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development (IESD)