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Climate Change book by Dr Knight is nominated for the 2014 John Button Prize

23 Jun 2014

A book authored by Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Management, Dr Eric Knight, has been long-listed for the prestigious 2014 John Button Prize.

Why We Argue About Climate Change - book cover

Why We Argue About Climate Change was published by Black Inc in late 2013, and launched by NSW Premier, Mike Baird.

The book is an in depth analysis of the political and economic complexity behind climate change. Building on an assessment of how the issue has evolved in public decision-making, the book draws implications for other areas of public policy management and change. The book reflects 9 years of research and experience on the investment decision-making behind organizations facing complex choices, both in the highly regulated world of energy infrastructure investment as well as other sectors.

Knight argues that, for right or wrong, climate change has often been cast as a moral, environmental or scientific issue. Yet none of these perspectives captures the true essence of the debate. In the end, he argues, climate change is a debate about freedom; unless you unpack the complexities around freedom - both political and economic - we will struggle to make progress on this issue.

The book has important implications for both academic scholarship and practitioners. Knight makes the case for a more decentralized decision-making model in complex systems, such as government agencies. He builds a model of an adaptive public sector organization that is able to delegate responsibility and authority to the periphery whilst retaining a "coordinating brain" at the centre.

These models of leadership have been applied in other complex systems, such as hospital emergency departments and fast-past technology companies, but can be more fruitfully explored in slow-moving institutions such as government and service delivery providers.

The John Button Prize awards $20,000 to the best piece of writing by an Australian on public policy and politics in the past 12 months. The winner will be announced later this year.