Table 2. Comparing models of context dynamics and agency.

Opportunity contexts
After Dorado (2005)
Opaque – Hazy
A few organizations dominate. Institutions and beliefs are well established. As challenges to the established order emerge, the context moves from opaque to hazy.
Hazy – Transparent
Old organizations lose their dominance. Institutions and beliefs are open to reinterpretation. As new organizations and understandings emerge, the context becomes transparent.
Transparent – Opaque
Multiple organizations that are loosely coupled are present, and many different beliefs coexist. As some of these disappear and others become more tightly coupled, the context becomes opaque again.
Associated ways of mobilizing support for change
After Dorado (2005)
Accumulation implies that support and acceptance of new institutions emerge as the uncoordinated actions of countless actors probabilistically converge.
Accumulation, Convening, and Leverage
Convening means bringing actors “to the table,” not to convince them of a predefined way forward, but to work together.
Leverage, Accumulation
Leverage means that politically skilled actors mobilize support and acceptance for certain ideas.
Associated agency
After Dorado (2005)
Routine, Strategic
Routine agency involves re-enacting of past patterns of behavior and thus brings stability to institutional fields.
Strategic agency involves actors defining their valued interests and deciding on a particular course of action to serve them.
Routine, Sense-making, Strategic
Sense-making involves developing a coherent story that helps actors deal with a problematic present.
Strategic, Routine
Strategic agency involves actors defining their valued interests and deciding on a particular course of action to serve them.
Phases of social-ecological transformations
After Olsson et al. (2004)
Preparing for transformation
Agents build ecological knowledge, develop a shared vision, and expand their social network.
Navigating the transition
Agents use a window-of-opportunity to create a new governance system.
Building resilience of the new regime
Agents develop motivation and values for ecosystem management, direct the local context through adaptive comanagement, and navigate the larger environment.
Phases of change in complex adaptive systems
After Holling (1986)
Biomass and nutrients have accumulated and a few species dominate. Disturbances such as wildfires release these resources.
Release – Reorganization – Exploitation
Pioneer species that are able to make use of the released energy enter. Others follow, and the ecosystem is reorganized.
Exploitation – Conservation
Ecological succession, in which pioneer species are eventually outcompeted. A few species become dominant once again.