'We need to speed up a little’: explaining the influence of system thinking on the collaboration between different governmental layers within the energy transition

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Climate change is a wicked problem, interlinked with sustainability and environmental issues. One of these issues is the energy sector, which is one of the biggest emitters in the Netherlands. To combat climate change the Dutch government has agreed upon a 95% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Five governmental levels in the Netherlands have produced climate vision papers focused on the sustainable energy transition, to help reduce emissions. In this research the basic premise is that the impact and scale of climate change necessitate collaboration across many social levels (including cultural, political and economic), natural levels (technological and nature) and between different governmental layers. Also needed for proper collaboration is an integrated view. Therefore, system thinking is analysed to uncover if and how the many social and natural aspects are present in the vision documents. To analyse the presence of system thinking and to analyse whether collaborative governance aspects are present, indicating collaboration, a discourse analysis is used. Findings indicate that system thinking aspects are present in the vision documents. Not all aspects are evenly represented, which could indicate a lack of system thinking. However, the participants stated that the uneven distribution did not influence the collaboration between different governmental layers even though this research contradicted this to a certain point. Therefore, it is recommended to re-evaluate relationships between governmental layers and research the discrepancies further.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen