Lemos, M.C., C.J. Kirchhoff, S.E. Kalafatis, D. Scavia, and R.B. Rood


Lemos, M.C., C.J. Kirchhoff, S.E. Kalafatis, D. Scavia, and R.B. Rood, 2014. Moving climate information off the shelf: Boundary chains and the role of RISAs as adaptive organizations. Weather, Climate and Society, 6(2): 273-285.


While research focusing on how boundary organizations influence the use of climate information has expanded substantially in the past few decades, there has been relatively less attention to how these organizations innovate and adapt to different environments and users. This paper investigates how one boundary organization, the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center (GLISA), has adapted by creating “boundary chains” to diversify its client base while minimizing transaction costs, increasing scientific knowledge usability, and better meeting client climate information needs. In this approach, boundary organizations connect like links in a chain and together these links span the range between the production of knowledge and its use. Three main chain configurations are identified. In the key chain approach, GLISA has partnered with other organizations in a number of separate projects simultaneously, diversifying its client base without sacrificing customization. In the linked chain approach, GLISA is one of several linked boundary organizations that successively deepen the level of customization to meet particular users’ needs. Finally, by partnering with multiple organizations and stakeholder groups in both configurations, GLISA may be laying the groundwork for enhancing their partners’ own capacity to make climate-related decisions through a networked chain approach that facilitates cooperation among organizations and groups. Each of these approaches represents an adaptive strategy that both enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of participating boundary organizations’ work and improves the provision of climate information that meets users’ needs.