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Title (Primary) Mapping complexity in environmental governance: a comparative analysis of 37 priority issues in German water management
Author Kirschke, S.; Borchardt, D.; Newig, J.;
Journal Environmental Policy and Governance
Year 2017
Department ASAM;
Volume 27
Issue 6
Language englisch;
POF III (all) T32;
Keywords complex problem solving; European Water Framework Directive; point and non-point source pollution; water governance; wicked problems
UFZ wide themes RU2;
Abstract Environmental governance regularly has to cope with complex problems. However, ‘complexity’ has mostly been used as a heuristic concept and hardly made operable for empirical research. Drawing on psychological research on complex problem solving, we propose a structured operationalization of complexity in the five dimensions of (1) goals, (2) variables, (3) dynamics, (4) interconnectedness and (5) information uncertainty. Based on 65 semi-standardized expert interviews and 158 assessments of complexity degrees, we analyse and map 37 water-related problems in Germany with regard to their complexity. We find that these problems tend to exhibit medium degrees of complexity, based on 30 types of argument for complexity. Our analysis also reveals varying degrees of complexity and delineates the various natural, technical and social sources of complexity. Our approach and the results may facilitate more systematic discussion of governance strategies for complex problem solving across environmental policy fields and scales.
ID 19439
Persistent UFZ Identifier http://www.ufz.de/index.php?en=20939&ufzPublicationIdentifier=19439
Kirschke, S., Borchardt, D., Newig, J. (2017):
Mapping complexity in environmental governance: a comparative analysis of 37 priority issues in German water management
Environ. Policy Gov. 27 (6), 534 - 559