To cope with the increasing complexities of environmental challenges, new innovative models of governance that are capable of greater flexibility, speed and adaptability have emerged. It is in this context that the trend towards decentralised and localised collaboratives that are self-regulated and diverse, which can act locally and freed from much of the standardising constraints characteristic of hierarchical bureaucratic government, must be viewed.
The question, however still is why a particular collaborative seems to be more successful in achieving desirable outcomes than another one in a comparable context? This paper intends to explore the informal dimensions beyond the formal – captured in the concept of social capital – to gauge if concepts such as social learning and social capital could be helpful to provide some explanations to the question posed above. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that social capital could have an enormous effect on natural resource management and even the effectiveness and functioning of governments. These emerging governance structures could therefore offer an exciting window of opportunity to study social and organisational learning at this point in time.