Section 2: Stakeholder Analysis
Why is collaboration an important concept in the public sector?
And how do we identify the important actors in a specific policy domain during the implementation of a program or change of policy?
_Conklin, J. (2010). Wicked Problems & Social Complexity. _
Author: Kim, Chung Myung; Editor: Damon-Cronmiller, Christopher
Conklin’s reading is about the collective intelligence in solving collaborative problem. There are forces that challenge collective intelligence, known as the forces of fragmentation. Within the forces of fragmentation, wickedness and social complexity are the two negative factors that hugely influence problem solving. First of all, Conklin outlines wicked problems into six different criteria: 1) You don’t understand the problem until you have developed a solution 2) Wicked problems have no stopping rule 3) Solutions to wicked problems are not right or wrong 4) Every wicked problem is essentially unique and novel 5) Every solution to a wicked problem is a ‘one-shot operation’ 6) Wicked problems have no given alternative solutions.
There are two ways to deal with wicked problems, studying the problem and taming the problem. Studying method is important, however, it is less effective and efficient in solving wicked problem as one cannot solve wicked problems just by gathering objective data and analysis, rather wicked problems require opportunity driven approach.
Taming the wicked problem is about simplifying the problem in more manageable way. There are six ways one can tame the wicked problems, 1) Lock down the problem definition 2) Assert that the problem is solved 3) Specify objective parameters by which to measure the solution’s success 4) Cast the problem as ‘just like’ a previous problem that has been solved 5) Given up on trying to get a good solution to the problem 6) Declare that there are just few possible solutions, and focus on selecting from among these options.
Moreover, Conklin includes social complexity as another factor of fragmentation. Whenever a group or team faces a wicked problem and tries to provide solutions to it, it results in social complexity as there are multiple parties being involved in it. Each party or individual will act in the ways that represent best interest of their department or organization. Therefore, the social complexity makes solving of a wicked problem a social process. Within the concept of social complexity, Conklin points out to the polarity of design that generates tension between what is needed and what can be built. Such tensions are often portrayed in organizations or groups where each stakeholder has different goals and motives.
Public management has more social complexity as public and public bureaucracy has greater diversity than dealing with the normal management. It would be ideal to solve public issues as Conklin suggests, however, it would not be feasible as it is much challenging to define and come up with the shared understanding and interests as public has greater latitude of diversity and representations. Not only that, government and public management is much more complicated organization than the normal one, it cannot be simplified down as Conklin suggested in his writing.
Stakeholder Analysis: A Cross-Cutting Tool. World Wildlife Fund, 2005.
Author: El Ayachi, Youssef; Editor: Sarawat, Fariha