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A Systemic Intervention Approach to Designing Interagency Responses to Wicked Problems: Creating a Common, Cross-Agency Understanding

Sydelko, Pamela; Midgley, Gerald; Espinosa, Angela

Authors

Pamela Sydelko

Angela Espinosa



Abstract

Wicked problems are open-ended, highly interdependent issues that cross agency, stakeholder, jurisdictional, and geopolitical boundaries. In response, there has been advocacy for interagency working. However, this confounds conventional approaches to government because policies and budgets tend to be aligned within organizational boundaries and not across them, making it difficult to bring the appropriate talent, knowledge and assets into an interagency approach to tackle the interdependencies of whatever wicked problem is at hand. In addition, the purposes, perspectives and values of the various government agencies and other stakeholders can often be in conflict. This is one of a pair of papers reporting on research to develop and evaluate a systemic intervention approach involving the use of multiple methods underpinned by boundary critique to address a wicked problem. In this first paper, the major focus is how to create a common understanding of a wicked problem among multiple agencies using a participatory problem structuring method called ‘systemic perspective mapping’. The wicked problem we tackled was international organized drug crime and its intersection with local urban gang activity (using Chicago, USA, as a representative city). Perspectives on the problem were structured with participation from various local, regional and federal agencies involved in countering illegal drug trafficking. Our research found that the combined use of boundary critique and systemic perspective mapping was able to generate enough of a common understanding to provide a foundation for the design of an interagency organization using the viable system model (the latter is reported in the second paper).

Citation

Sydelko, P., Midgley, G., & Espinosa, A. (in press). A Systemic Intervention Approach to Designing Interagency Responses to Wicked Problems: Creating a Common, Cross-Agency Understanding. European journal of operational research, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2020.11.045

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 25, 2020
Online Publication Date Dec 4, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 9, 2020
Publicly Available Date Dec 5, 2022
Journal European journal of operational research
Print ISSN 0377-2217
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ejor.2020.11.045
Keywords Problem structuring methods; OR in government; Systems thinking; Interagency; Wicked problems
Public URL https://hull-repository.worktribe.com/output/3673076
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0377221720310043
Additional Information This is the accepted manuscript. I will upload the final version when I get the proofs.

Files

This file is under embargo until Dec 5, 2022 due to copyright reasons.

Contact G.R.Midgley@hull.ac.uk to request a copy for personal use.




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