Issues in reconceptualizing public policy from the perspective of complexity theory

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This article discusses some of the core concepts of complexity theory and their applications in understanding public policy processes. It is argued that complexity theorists should adopt the insights of Giddens's structuration theory to make meaningful contributions to public policy theory. Issues in articulating a complexity theory of public policy are discussed. Particularly the issues in defining policy systems and understanding self-organizational processes are highlighted. The implications of emergence are elaborated. It is argued that irreducibility and social causation are problematic concepts and that Giddens's concepts of duality of structure and distanciation can help solve the conceptual problems in the applications of them in public policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-60
Number of pages9
JournalE:CO Emergence: Complexity and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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