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Chapter 6 Steering Emergent and Complex Change Processes

New Steering Concepts in Public Management

ISBN: 978-1-78052-110-7, eISBN: 978-1-78052-111-4

Publication date: 24 October 2011


New Public Management (NPM)-style reforms have resulted in unintended effects such as fragmentation, deficient coordination and undermining political control. This book is in search of new steering concepts to counter this fragmentation and re-coordinate the public sector. In this chapter, the search for new steering concepts is addressed by looking at a type of public management reform that is an extremely ‘wicked problem’ in terms of steering and coordination, that is, emergent and complex change processes. Such a type of reform process is a complex network of different sub-types of reform with a multitude of actors with different interests and motives. Many decentral actors initiate various reforms at different places from which in the course of time a trend emerges, and several central actors try to coordinate and supervise, but have limited influence. Such an ‘emergent and complex’ type of change process indeed requires fundamentally new steering concepts.


Kickert, W. (2011), "Chapter 6 Steering Emergent and Complex Change Processes", Groeneveld, S. and Van De Walle, S. (Ed.) New Steering Concepts in Public Management (Research in Public Policy Analysis and Management, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 71-89.



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