Complexity in public policy metaphors and methods
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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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Complexity in public policy metaphors and methods

Complexity in Public Policy: Metaphors and Methods

Philip Haynes


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


Many perspectives on policy

Many perspectives on policy


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


Complex or complicated

Complex or complicated?


Some core metaphors

Some core metaphors

  • Instability (chaos)

  • Nested systems

  • Attractors (order in disorder)

  • Interaction (not cause and effect)

  • Self organisation (order from within)


Chaos and instability

Chaos and instability


Instability and chaos in policy

Instability and chaos in policy


Types of change

Types of change


Types of change1

Types of change


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)


Attractor uk inflation t 1 1987 2004

Attractor UK inflation (t-1) 1987-2004


Attractor uk inflation 1987 1990

Attractor UK inflation 1987-1990


Attractor uk inflation 1990 1997

Attractor UK inflation 1990--1997


Attractor uk inflation 1997 2005

Attractor UK inflation 1997-2005


Attractor uk inflation 1987 2005

Attractor UK inflation 1987-2005


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


System interaction

System Interaction


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)


Self organisation

Self organisation


Methods

Methods

  • How we can make sense of such complexity?


Complexity in public policy metaphors and methods

‘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


Single quantitative model

Single quantitative model


As complex patterns

As complex patterns

QCA – truth tables

  • HWMSCHAAROutid

  • 0110000CAUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND

  • 00100111GERMANY

  • 00010001GB

  • 01010001US

  • 00011011AUSTRIA

  • 00011110HUNG

  • 01100011NOR,CAN

  • 10001110POLAND

  • 11100000JAPAN

  • 10101110SPAIN


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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