Working on learning: how the institutional rules of environmental governance matter

Tanya Heikkila, Andrea K. Gerlak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Learning among actors engaged in environmental governance can be a critical pathway toward institutional change. Learning, however, is often unintentional or idiosyncratic in environmental governance. This paper considers how the rules structuring an environmental governance process can enable or constrain the institutional work of learning. We draw insights from theories of learning and from the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework's rule typology to identify how particular types of rules matter in learning. We examine how these insights can help uncover lessons from five empirical studies of learning in the environmental governance literature. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of our analysis for devising rules of environmental governance to intentionally foster learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-123
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Environmental Planning and Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019


  • environment
  • governance
  • institutional change
  • institutional work
  • learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Environmental Science
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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