Orchestration: Strategic Ordering in Polycentric Climate Governance

30 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2017

Date Written: June 8, 2017


This paper considers how the soft and indirect mode of governance known as orchestration has contributed to the growth and structure of the increasingly polycentric climate governance system – a system with multiple centers of authority, public and private, at different governance levels. It also considers the implications of orchestration’s significant role for some of the major propositions of polycentric governance theory. First, that theory suggests that governance organizations emerge spontaneously through local self-organization, yet governments, international organizations and other actors have orchestrated the formation of many climate governance organizations. Second, the theory suggests that governance organizations coordinate their activities on a decentralized basis through mutual adjustment, yet orchestrators have helped to structure the climate governance system and modestly coordinate its constituent organizations. And third, the theory suggests that polycentric governance encourages experimentation, innovation and learning, yet climate governance lacks an organized system that can promote systematic experimentation and learning. The paper concludes by considering how, in this and other areas, further orchestration would be beneficial.

Keywords: Orchestration, Climate Governance, Polycentricity, Self-Organization, Mutual Adjustment, Experimentalist Governance, Voluntary Commitments

JEL Classification: F55, O31, Q54

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Kenneth Wayne, Orchestration: Strategic Ordering in Polycentric Climate Governance (June 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2983512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2983512

Kenneth Wayne Abbott (Contact Author)

Arizona State University ( email )

Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States
480-965-5917 (Phone)

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