Problem Solving

Christopher K. Ansell

in Pragmatist Democracy

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199772438
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918997 | DOI:
Problem Solving

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This chapter develops a model of strategic problem-solving in public agencies, generalizing from work on policing, regulation, and organizational problem-solving. Pragmatism adopts an ecological approach to public problems, understanding them as complex, interdependent, and only partially decomposable into simpler and more tractable problems. In response, agency problem-solving must begin in a focused way by identifying areas of tractability, but must build towards more holistic solutions. Pragmatism also supports more proactive problem-solving, in which agencies adopt a preventive stance towards public problems. Strategic problem-solving requires agencies to develop specific competencies for problem analysis and for collaboration with other stakeholders.

Keywords: problem-solving; Herbert Simon; wicked problems; decomposability; strategic management; problem-oriented policing; problem-solving courts

Chapter.  8180 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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