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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-53

Improving Conservation Community Group Effectiveness Using Mind Mapping and Action Research


1 School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia
2 Sustainability, Partnerships and Community Engagement, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW, Australia

Correspondence Address:
David Lloyd
School of Environment, Science and Engineering, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW
Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.132130

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This paper examines a case study where mind mapping is used within an action research project to foster improved community group effectiveness and decision-making. The case study focusses on the social dynamics experienced during the formative stage of a community action group in Byron Bay, New South Wales; one of a network of such groups, formed to ensure that sustainable environmental management practices are followed in proposed coal-seam gas developments. In the context of examining systemic social interactions within such a group, the study recognises both the importance of communication and the susceptibility of individuals to certain behavioural patterns. Negative emergent norms led to excessive behaviours that threatened to hinder effective communication and group behaviour. Use of mind mapping countered this negative tendency, focussing the inherent positive qualities of the group, and thus enabling more efficient decision-making. Shown to be an effective tool for overcoming communication barriers and increasing cohesion; its power lies in maintaining process transparency, removing power-structures and ego-centric personal barriers, hence facilitating effective communal knowledge sharing, clarification, idea crystallisation, and planning.


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