Governments often present societal problems simpler than they are. In public policy, problems are bound, extracted from their context, and provided with one-dimensional solutions. As demonstrated in this book, ‘criminal youth groups’ must be imprisoned, and the municipal transport service must get passengers from A to B as quickly as possible. Because of these simplifi cations, policy becomes superfi cial, often with disappointing results.
This book searches for an alternative policy orientation that accommodates the entanglement and multi-dimensionality of societal problems in public policy. Using philosophical refl ections, Public Administration literature and three in-depth case studies, the author shows how ‘complex policy’ better fi ts the late-modern society and produces innovative and rich results. He also analyses the tensions of complexifying policy in an organisational context of institutionalised simplicity. Simplifi cation reflexes threaten the space for and results of complexifi cation. Policymakers should be ambidextrous: accommodating complexity in public policy while being responsive to the institutional need for simplicity.