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Pragmatist DemocracyEvolutionary Learning as Public Philosophy$
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Christopher Ansell

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199772438

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199772438.001.0001

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Problem Solving

Problem Solving

(p.84) Chapter 5 Problem Solving
Pragmatist Democracy

Christopher K. Ansell

Oxford University Press

This chapter develops a model of strategic problem-solving in public agencies, generalizing from work on policing, regulation, and organizational problem-solving. Pragmatism adopts an ecological approach to public problems, understanding them as complex, interdependent, and only partially decomposable into simpler and more tractable problems. In response, agency problem-solving must begin in a focused way by identifying areas of tractability, but must build towards more holistic solutions. Pragmatism also supports more proactive problem-solving, in which agencies adopt a preventive stance towards public problems. Strategic problem-solving requires agencies to develop specific competencies for problem analysis and for collaboration with other stakeholders.

Keywords:   problem-solving, Herbert Simon, wicked problems, decomposability, strategic management, problem-oriented policing, problem-solving courts

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