Employing complexity: complexification management for locked issues

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Abstract

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)
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2020

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