Project Lead: Daniel Kenny
Accounting for human behaviour is key to solving problems of socio-ecological systems (SES), as human decision-making plays a significant role in managing and building the resilience of any such system. To address the issues facing socio-ecological systems (SES), such as climate change, we need to:
- Engage in participatory processes that are inclusive and transparent,
- Apply science to decision follow-through, and
- Appreciate the role that biases, beliefs, heuristics, and values (BBHV) play in our individual and collective decision-making as SES are highly complex, computer simulation models are one tool available to us to help us understand the complexity of these interactions. With models, we can apply systems thinking to find solutions and taking the next step of involving stakeholders in that model building process builds trust in those solutions.
Participatory modelling (PM) can address these issues by providing a space where engaging stakeholders of a given problem can reach collaborative solutions informed by science. There are two recognized objectives of PM:
1) To improve understanding and
2) To problem solve.
Underlying these two objectives is a third objective, which can be to ultimately trigger transformative changes in the SES behaviour. This is where PM has fallen short of addressing the degree, extent, and permanence of behavioural changes needed to have a systemic impact. PM can benefit from a more systematic integration of theories and concepts from behavioural science and social learning, specifically to empower those ‘select’ stakeholders in the room to positively impact the broader system of which they are a part, thus addressing that third objective. Empowering purposeful stakeholder action can shape from the bottom-up an entire system, community, or society (Latane 1996; Kenrick, Li & Buttner 2003) and ultimately alter the goals and paradigms of the system (Meadows 1999) and PM can be a great vehicle for such a transformation. This research seeks to answer how can PM help stakeholders adopt practices that build resilience in the socio-ecological systems that they are part of?
Using theories and concepts from behavioural science and social learning, empower PM stakeholders to transform knowledge and recommendations into action, increasing the likelihood that positive and systemic behaviour change endures in the aftermath of PM.
I. Explore the extent to which the PM process can encourage the acceptance and adoption of practices that build resilience in socio-ecological systems.
II. Devise guidelines to systematically empower stakeholders to tackle complex SES problems by incorporating behavioural science and social learning principles into PM processes and facilitation.
III. Evaluate the effectiveness of guidelines in increasing personal intention to adopt regenerative practices and empowerment to affect the system, by working with the Mulloon Institute on the adoption of regenerative agriculture in NSW.
IV. Assess how guidelines for empowerment can be implemented in policy decision-making