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Organizational conditions for dealing with the unknown unknown : illustrated by how a Dutch water management authority is preparing for climate change

Termeer, C.J.A.M.; Brink, M.A. van den

Samenvatting

The central question of this article is the extent to which organizations, governmental authorities in particular, are able to deal with the unknown unknown. Drawing on Weick’s work on sensemaking, we introduce seven organizational conditions that can facilitate organizations to be reliable under trying and surprising situations. We analyse the utility of this framework by analysing how a Dutch water management authority is preparing for the unknowns of climate change, which are nearly impossible to predict and thus hard to prepare for. Our assessment reveals several strengths and weaknesses and helps to develop devices to make governmental authorities more resilient.