Double Capacity Building as Response to Wicked Policy Problems: The Danish Emergency Management Reform

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Transboundary challenges, risk and wicked problems have become part of a major reform agenda in public sector policy. This paper undertakes an in-depth case study of a single reform – the Danish emergency management reform in the period 2012-2017 occasioning various efforts towards efficient response, structural adjustment, an overall risk analysis framework, cross-sectoral crisis management capacities, prevention and resilience strategies. Multiple and ongoing reform initiatives stands out as a case of a public policy reform making focusing on tackling wicked problems with complex and second order strategies of building organizational, collaborative and self-governing capacity.
Instead of observing reform efforts as response strategies to a certain typology of wicked problems, we suggest that problems of reform are historical and contextual embedded configurations and that most governing strategies should be viewed as dynamic and contested, often developed in ongoing and multi-level processes of reforming. Our main argument is, that reform responses to wicked problems are most evidently characterized by a certain kind of double capacity building occurring as a duality of re-centralization and a ‘back-to-the-state’ approach on the one hand and an involvement and mobilization approach that seek to embed notions of collaborative governing and civic engagement on the other. Applying a discursive-institutionalist approach to policy analysis and drawing on insight from network theory, governance and governmentality studies a set of key tensions in the problem configurations and institutional arrangements of the emergency management reform-complex are identified as the diagnostic impetus to consider the dynamics of doubled capacity building and implications for how to conceptualize wicked problems on central dimension as value diversity, institutional complexity and mode of risk and uncertainty.
We suggest that reform dynamics and the double capacity building centered around handling complex and wicked problems should be viewed as dynamic and layered and their development and outcomes open and complex.
Antal sider27
StatusUdgivet - 2018
BegivenhedThe 22nd Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2018 - University of Edinburgh Business School, Edinburgh, Storbritannien
Varighed: 11 apr. 201813 apr. 2018
Konferencens nummer: 22


KonferenceThe 22nd Annual Conference of International Research Society for Public Management. IRSPM 2018
LokationUniversity of Edinburgh Business School