The Role of Organizational Learning in ENGO Influence Strategies Targeting UN Climate Change Negotiations

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Environmental NGOs employ a number of strategies to influence UN climate change negotiations. The UNFCCC’s December 2015 achievement of an elusive global agreement at COP21 in Paris to curb carbon emissions begs the question of whether ENGOs employed different influence strategies at COP21 to contribute to this success. This study compares ENGO COP influence strategies in Paris to those used at COP15 in Copenhagen in December 2009, a widely anticipated COP that did not result in a global agreement. It also analyzes 4I framework organizational learning processes used by ENGOs to determine a relationship, if any, between ENGOs’ collective strength of strategic renewal and their ability to alter their COP influence strategies. Semi-structured interviews with climate experts at large ENGOs revealed that ENGOs did not substantially change their mid-COP influence strategies in Paris as a result of learnings from Copenhagen. However, ENGOs did substantially change their pre-COP influence strategies for Paris, having placed a greater focus on influencing the broader political environment, working toward international cooperation ahead of the COP and creating a media environment to promote a global agreement. Organizational learning within ENGOs is strongest at the interpretation and integration levels of the 4I framework. However, the unique political and social circumstances of each COP necessitate that ENGOs adopt influence strategies unique to each event, and institutionalized learnings from prior COPs do not often apply to future COPs.





Dwyer, Katherine (2016). The Role of Organizational Learning in ENGO Influence Strategies Targeting UN Climate Change Negotiations. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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