Local Environment, Vol 20, No 4, 2015, pp. 424-441.
Adaptation takes place in both private and public sectors, or as an interrelation between the two, and often under the realm of public regulation. Thispaper uses the Swedish and the Norwegian electricity grid sector, as providers of a vital public good under strict public regulation, to analyse reforms’ effects on adaptive capacity in this area. The paper shows that transformational changes in both sectors during the 1990s shifted both the formal organisational structure (rules and regulations), as well as the organisational culture, in the direction of economic efficiency. These two dimensions individually reduced adaptive capacity to climate change, although differently in the two countries. However, the formal structure and organisational culture also yielded substantial influence on each other. This leads to the conclusion that when designing public regulations and implementing reforms, organisational culture must be considered in the design. Also the paper contests previous findings in the literature by showing that under given conditions there exist some substitution between the two dimensions in influencing adaptive capacity, implying that both dimensions should be included when analysing adaptation since analysing them in isolation is likely to lead to wrong conclusions.