Transition Management for Sustainable Development: A Prescriptive, Complexity-Based Governance Framework

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1064 Citations (Scopus)


This article introduces transition management as a new governance approach for sustainable development. Sustainable development is used here as a common notion referring to those persistent problems in (Western industrialized) societies that can only be dealt with on the very long term (decades or more) through specific types of network and decision-making processes. Based on interdisciplinary research into complex processes of long term, structural change in society, basic tenets for complexity-based governance are formulated. These tenets are translated into a framework that distinguishes between four different types of governance activities and their respective roles in societal transitions. This framework can be used for implementation of governance strategies and instruments. The approach and framework have been developed deductively and inductively in the Netherlands since 2000. This article presents the theoretical basis of transition management and will be illustrated by examples from transition management practice, especially the Dutch national energy transition program.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-183
Number of pages24
JournalGovernance. An International Journal of Policy and Administration
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2009

Research programs



Dive into the research topics of 'Transition Management for Sustainable Development: A Prescriptive, Complexity-Based Governance Framework'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this