Climatic Change

, Volume 152, Issue 1, pp 47–66 | Cite as

Social capital and incremental transformative change: responding to climate change experts in Metro Manila

  • Katherine E. LaycockEmail author
  • Carrie L. Mitchell


This research examines climate change responses by experts from government, national agencies, civil society organizations, and private firms in Metro Manila. We found that highly bonding social capital, often forged through more familiar relationships, reduces organizational interactions and the potential for efficient knowledge mobilization. Specifically, results show deficiencies in information delivery (inconsistent lexicon) and support systems (knowledge sharing, partnerships, and resources), situations known to hinder climate change action. Despite ambivalence toward changing the current system, experts expressed (a) undertones of displeasure in how the system operates, and (b) a clear desire for more institutionalized action and mandates at various institutional scales. A predominance of bonding social capital can preclude participation from outside actors resulting in the exclusion of innovations needed to advance climate response. Therefore, we propose incremental shifts to existing social capital as a means to achieve transformations, arguing that a synergy of horizontal and vertical networks could increase efficiencies in information processes, strengthen collaborations, and enhance governance to confront climate change in this context.



This research was generously funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship and an International Development Research Centre Doctoral Research Award. Gratitude is extended to many individuals at De La Salle University, Manila, especially Dr. Francisco Magno for network insights and in-roads while undertaking this research. We thank Dr. Sarah Burch, Dr. Jennifer Dean, Dr. Pierre Filion, and Xing Su for their recommendations throughout the research and writing processes. In addition, we gratefully acknowledge and thank the three anonymous reviewers who provided invaluable and detailed suggestions and comments to guide and enhance this final paper.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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