Managing uncertainty: Public administrators dealing with 'wicked' issues in public policy

Dudau, A. (2010) Managing uncertainty: Public administrators dealing with 'wicked' issues in public policy. In: Bergmann, A. (ed.) Jahrbuch der Schweizerischen Verwaltungswissenschaften 2010. Swiss Society of Administrative Sciences: Zurich, Switzerland, pp. 71-80. ISBN 9783905839135

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The current policy arena is crowded with elements of public sector ethos that are both traditional (such as legality and accountability) and new (such as boundary-spanning and leadership). The mix can be confusing to the public administrators who find themselves in the position to ensure a fine balance between the various paradigmatic forces in the sector while tackling complex policy problems under the constant fear of liability for failure. The study employs theories of complexity to illustrate the task demands on public administrators in three consecutive time periods and to emphasise that the current one is truly the most demanding of all, truly ‘on the edge of chaos’, hence requiring more skills from public administrators than ever before. After an account of three successive public administration paradigms and of the role played by public servants in each of them, the study concludes with the need for flexibility and ‘lean management’ in post-modern public administration, as a way for administrators at both front line and senior levels to address uncertainty in policy making.

Item Type:Book Sections
Keywords:uncertainty, public administrators
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dudau, Dr Adina
Authors: Dudau, A.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Research Group:Centre for Health, Environment and Risk Research (CHERR)
Publisher:Swiss Society of Administrative Sciences
Copyright Holders:Swiss Society of Administrative Sciences
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