Articles | Volume 72, issue 3
Geogr. Helv., 72, 341–350, 2017

Special issue: Policy mobilities

Geogr. Helv., 72, 341–350, 2017

Standard article 31 Jul 2017

Standard article | 31 Jul 2017

The role of organizational culture in policy mobilities – the case of South Korean climate change adaptation policies

Susann Schäfer Susann Schäfer
  • Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Institute of Geography, Löbdergraben 32, 07743 Jena, Germany

Abstract. The conceptualization of policies as mobile and mutable knowledge is the key feature of the recent debate on policy mobilities. Policy mobility studies have focused on the movement and translation of policies as well as on the impact of mobile policies on policy-making processes and governed spaces. Given that policy mobilities have mainly been examined in comparable institutional contexts, the current debate has neglected the role of organizational culture in the translation of policies. Organizational culture is understood as a set of shared assumptions that guide what happens in organizations by defining appropriate practices of policy making. The case study, South Korean adaptation policy, illustrates that organizational culture has a significant impact on the translation of mobile adaptation policy. Besides the claim to consider organizational culture more prominently in the field of policy mobility studies, this paper illustrates the translation process of adaptation policy in the South Korean political system. The practices in South Korean political institutions dealing with climate change adaptation are highly characterized by the avoidance of risks. The propensity to avoid risks leads policy makers to focus on technical solutions to climate change adaptation and to neglect the participation of civil society.

Short summary
This paper deals with climate change adaptation policy in South Korea. It shows that the implementation of the idea "adapting to climate change" has been highly influenced by the political structure and perception of how to deal with a problem that is highly uncertain. The implications of the research are that the implementation of a political agenda across different political systems requires not only exchange of information but also guidance for institutional adjustments.
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