Tackling ‘Wicked’ problems holistically with institutionalist policymaking
Gray, Matthew & Gill, Roderic A. (2009) Tackling ‘Wicked’ problems holistically with institutionalist policymaking. In Natarajan, Tara, Elsner, Wolfram, & Fullwiller, Scott (Eds.) Institutional Analysis and Praxis : the Social Fabric Matrix Approach. Springer, New York, pp. 87-102.
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One of our most pressing needs in creating a more sustainable world is the explicit development of holistic policy. This is becoming increasingly apparent as we are faced with more and more ‘wicked problems', the most difficult class of problems that we can conceptualize. Such problems consist of ‘clusters’ of problems, and include socio-political and moral-spiritual issues. This paper articulates a methodology that can be applied to the analysis and design of underlying organizational structures and processes that will consistently and effectively address wicked problems while being consistent with the advocated 'learning by doing' approach to change management and policy making. This transdisciplinary methodology—known as the institutionalist policymaking framework—has been developed from the perspective of institutional economics synthesized with perspectives from ecological economics and system dynamics. In particular it draws on the work first presented in Hayden’s 1993 paper ‘Institutionalist Policymaking’—and further developed in his 2006 book, at the heart of which lies the SFM—and the applicability of this approach in tackling complex and wicked problems.
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