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Complexity in Public Policy: Metaphors and Methods Philip Haynes.

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Presentation on theme: "Complexity in Public Policy: Metaphors and Methods Philip Haynes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Complexity in Public Policy: Metaphors and Methods Philip Haynes

2 What do we mean by policy?  Government action  Linking of decisions  Intervention – political power

3 What do we mean by policy?  Implementation – management, professionalism…  Multidisciplinary

4 Policy Process  Policy as a rational process

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6 Making sense of it all?  Patterns  Time and Space

7 Patterns  Action over time - policy trends  Spatial levels - global, national, local, organisation, team…

8 Policy systems External Factors

9 Complexity Theory  Complex dynamic systems are constructed by the interaction of instability and stability.  Includes chaos theory, but goes beyond it Instability Stability

10 Complex or complicated?

11 Some core metaphors 1. Instability (chaos) 2. Nested systems 3. Attractors (order in disorder) 4. Interaction (not cause and effect) 5. Self organisation (order from within)

12 Chaos and instability

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14 Instability and chaos in policy

15 Types of change

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17 Policy and Time  Evolution of macro policy  Which path does policy action take? 1. Path dependency 2. Punctuated equilibrium 3. Complex stability-instability

18 Some core metaphors  Instability (chaos)  Nested systems (fractals)

19 Nested systems Local Government Central Government Sub National Government Organisation A Organisation B Actor, 1., 2, 3, etc

20 Some core metaphors  Instability (chaos)  Nested systems (fractals)  Attractors (order in the disorder)

21 Attractor UK inflation (t-1)

22 Attractor UK inflation

23 Attractor UK inflation

24 Attractor UK inflation

25 Attractor UK inflation

26 Attractors - qualitative  Kontoupolous – ‘competing logics in public policy’ Marketisation Consumerism User involvement Professionalism Managerialism Citizenship Bureaucratic rules

27 Some core metaphors  Instability (chaos)  Nested systems (fractals)  Attractors (order in the disorder)  Interaction (rather than cause and effect) A B Feedback

28 System Interaction

29 Some core metaphors  Instability (chaos)  Nested systems (fractals)  Attractors (order in the disorder)  Interaction (rather than cause and effect)  Self organisation (Order from within)

30 Self organisation

31 Methods  How we can make sense of such complexity?

32 ‘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

33 Qualitative Comparative Method Charles Ragin  Use of quantitative thresholds to make qualitative judgements  Better consideration of cases  Multiple ‘complex’ paths to outcome

34 Single quantitative model

35 As complex patterns QCA – truth tables HWMSCHAAROutid CAUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND GERMANY GB US AUSTRIA HUNG NOR,CAN POLAND JAPAN SPAIN

36 Logical Statements Outcome 1 = higher expenditure on LTC policy h * (M*s*ch) + (m*S*a) N=(8) (5) + (3)

37 Country statements h * m * S * ch * a * ar (GB and USA)

38 Patterns – workflow diagrams Clearing Subject strength Student services Student stress System Stress (Info. Systems) Timetabling Student Induction Publicity Learning and Teaching delivery Assessment Personal tutoring Research grants Open days Staff expertise Staff turn over Research publications Examination Boards Progression Awards and Graduation Staff deployment Higher Degree Recruitment Staff stress Student retention Admissions

39 Indicator Dashboard Student Targets Grants awarded Student Retention Publications cited Budget SSRs

40 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)’

41 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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