Employing complexity: complexification management for locked issues

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In line with wicked problem literature, we argue that public management based on ordering societal issues to make them controllable and solvable (simplification) can be initially attractive, but in the long-term ineffective. We elaborate on an alternative management mode of increasing the complexity of both the problem and the approach to deal with the problem (complexification). Based on an in-depth case-study about transforming Utrecht Central Station (the Netherlands), we present complexification as a management strategy to revitalize processes that got locked by simplification management. Path-dependency shows up as a weakness of simplification, and path-creation as a strength of complexification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)834-864
JournalPublic Management Review (online)
Issue number6
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2020

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