Regional sustainable development and the viability of environmental community organisations: Why does inter-organisational social capital matter?
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The contributions of environmental community organisations (ECOs) have become increasingly significant in the implementation of regional sustainable development (RSD) strategies in Australia. However, the question of what makes these third-sector organisations viable has remained an underexplored area of research. This paper responds to this gap and explores the linkages between viability of ECOs and inter-organisational social capital in the context of sustainable development in the Perth region. The paper begins with an overview of ECOs as a distinct subset of the third sector in Australia. Following this, literature on the linkages between organisational viability and social capital is reviewed, and the distinctions between intra-organisational and inter-organisational dimensions of social capital are elaborated. The method used in the study, its results and discussion, and its limitations are then presented. The paper ends with the contention that RSD is likely to falter without viable ECOs, and recommends the fostering of inter-organisational social capital in these organisations.
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