chapter  10
21 Pages

Managing Complex Process Systems: Surviving at the Edge of Chaos


The preceding chapters have discussed how non-linear dynamics and complexity occur in the practice of public administration. Through the use of concepts of self-organization, non-linear dynamics and coevolution, a better understanding of the complex character of public decision-making has been reached. It has been shown that dynamics originate from change events, the self-steering ability of subsystems, including the subsystem that considers itself to be the steering entity (mostly governments), and feedback between coevolving systems. Public administration consists of many self-organizing subsystems. People attempt to give meaning to these subsystems and oftentimes create new subsystems to cope with complexity. These self-organizing subsystems sometimes coevolve with other subsystems, but at other times and in other circumstances they evolve in a more closed and autopoietic way, which also generates non-linear dynamics (see Chapter 8).