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Complexity in Public Policy: Metaphors and Methods. Philip Haynes. What do we mean by policy?. Government action Linking of decisions Intervention – political power. What do we mean by policy?. Implementation – management, professionalism… Multidisciplinary. Policy Process.

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Presentation Transcript
what do we mean by policy
What do we mean by policy?
  • Government action
  • Linking of decisions
  • Intervention – political power
what do we mean by policy1
What do we mean by policy?
  • Implementation – management, professionalism…
  • Multidisciplinary
policy process
Policy Process
  • Policy as a rational process
making sense of it all
Making sense of it all?
  • Patterns
  • Time and Space
patterns
Patterns
  • Action over time - policy trends
  • Spatial levels - global, national, local, organisation, team…
policy systems
Policy systems

External Factors

National Government

Local Government

Policy organisations

External Factors

complexity theory
Complexity Theory
  • Complex dynamic systems are constructed by the interaction of instability and stability.
  • Includes chaos theory, but goes beyond it

Stability

Edge of Chaos

Instability

some core metaphors
Some core metaphors
  • Instability (chaos)
  • Nested systems
  • Attractors (order in disorder)
  • Interaction (not cause and effect)
  • Self organisation (order from within)
policy and time
Policy and Time
  • Evolution of macro policy
  • Which path does policy action take?
    • Path dependency
    • Punctuated equilibrium
    • Complex stability-instability
some core metaphors1
Some core metaphors
  • Instability (chaos)
  • Nested systems (fractals)
nested systems
Nested systems

Central Government

Sub National Government

Local Government

Actor, 1., 2, 3, etc

Organisation A

Organisation B

some core metaphors2
Some core metaphors
  • Instability (chaos)
  • Nested systems (fractals)
  • Attractors (order in the disorder)
attractors qualitative
Attractors - qualitative
  • Kontoupolous – ‘competing logics in public policy’

Managerialism

Marketisation

Professionalism

Consumerism

User involvement

Citizenship

Bureaucratic rules

some core metaphors3
Some core metaphors
  • Instability (chaos)
  • Nested systems (fractals)
  • Attractors (order in the disorder)
  • Interaction (rather than cause and effect)

A

Feedback

B

some core metaphors4
Some core metaphors
  • Instability (chaos)
  • Nested systems (fractals)
  • Attractors (order in the disorder)
  • Interaction (rather than cause and effect)
  • Self organisation (Order from within)
methods
Methods
  • How we can make sense of such complexity?
slide32

‘We maybe able to able to learn a lot about the kind of dynamics involved in the functioning of such systems…Complexity theory underscores the importance of contingent factors… No general model can capture these singularities.’

Cilliers, 2001, p.145

qualitative comparative method charles ragin
Qualitative Comparative MethodCharles Ragin
  • Use of quantitative thresholds to make qualitative judgements
  • Better consideration of cases
  • Multiple ‘complex’ paths to outcome
as complex patterns
As complex patterns

QCA – truth tables

  • H W M S CH A AR Out id
  • 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 C AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND
  • 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 1 GERMANY
  • 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 GB
  • 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 US
  • 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 AUSTRIA
  • 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 HUNG
  • 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 NOR,CAN
  • 1 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 POLAND
  • 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 JAPAN
  • 1 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 SPAIN
logical statements
Logical Statements

Outcome 1 = higher expenditure on LTC policy

h * (M*s*ch) + (m*S*a)

N= (8) (5) + (3)

country statements
Country statements
  • h * m * S * ch * a * ar
  • (GB and USA)
patterns workflow diagrams
Patterns – workflow diagrams

Clearing

Student Induction

Publicity

Admissions

Learningand Teaching delivery

Open days

Progression

Student stress

System Stress

(Info. Systems)

Timetabling

Subject strength

Staff

deployment

Staff expertise

Research grants

Staff turn over

Assessment

Research publications

Personal tutoring

Staff stress

Student services

Higher Degree Recruitment

Student retention

Examination Boards

Awards and Graduation

indicator dashboard
Indicator Dashboard

19.78 SSRs

Student

Retention

Publications cited

Grants

awarded

Student Targets

Budget

implications for practice
Implications for practice

‘Decision makers should be content with setting minimum specifications, establishing boundaries and letting the system settle into a condition that satisfies the constraints placed on it.’

(Kernick 2004, p137)’

airport paperback five point summary
Airport paperback: five point summary
  • Don’t micro manage
  • Do both synthesis and analysis

(the big picture is an important as the detail)

  • Celebrate positive feedback systems
  • Some places are trapped in negative feedback, consider intervening on a large scale.
  • Listen to local context and ‘stories’
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