2nd Edition

Managing Complexity in the Public Services

By Philip Haynes Copyright 2015
    178 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    178 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The application of complexity theory to management and the social sciences has been a key development in theory and practice over the last decade. This approach questions the possibility of finding universal methods of practice, and proposes a pragmatic and humanistic management style that evolves out of a reflective method. The focus is on practitioners observing patterns of similarity and being adaptable in decision-making.

    Bringing complexity theory into management reveals the importance of organizational culture and effective communication because people, their values and their objectives are at the heart of this method. Information technology provides a framework for complex communication and knowledge use, but it cannot replace highly developed professional negotiations and cooperation.

    This book argues that the complexity of the public service world limits the usefulness of classical and rational scientific management approaches such as New Public Management. Excessive marketization threatens a collaborative approach and overly rigid approaches to performance management and strategic management can be dysfunctional.

    Managing Complexity in the Public Services 2nd Edition advances a method of management practice that copes with the stark realities of the complex and unpredictable public policy world. It develops pragmatic management practices from action research that will be valuable to both academics and practitioners. The result is a new value-based practice for the post-crisis public service world.

    1.Management, Professions and the Public Service Context  2.What is Complexity?  3.Strategy and Planning in an Unstable World  4.Complexity and the Performance of Public Services  5.Information Management  6.People in Public Organizations


    Philip Haynes is Professor in Public Policy and Head of School of Applied Social Science at Brighton University, UK. He is the author of Public Policy Beyond the Financial Crisis: An International Comparative Study, 2012, Routledge and has published extensively in journals such as Public Management Review and International Journal of Public Administration and Social Policy and Administration

    ‘Phil Haynes’ excellent book demonstrates, once again, how far complexity thinking has come, how much it has to offer those working with public policy and management and how to go beyond the rigid limitations of New Public Management and the targeting/auditing culture.’ - Robert Geyer, Professor, Lancaster University, UK

    ‘This book is both conceptually stimulating and highly practical, combining a deep analysis of the complex and dynamic public service environment with an incisive examination of what this means for managing strategy, performance, information and people. An essential read.’ - Ellen Roberts, Director of Online Studies in Public Policy and Management, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of York, UK

    ‘Haynes' first edition of this enormously useful book, useful because it takes social science beyond the academy and into application, was a major contribution both to complexity thinking and to public managerial practice. This second edition is even better. It is not only sound and well written – it also engages with the morality and ethics of management practices in relation to complex systems. Haynes not only helps us to think through managing the complex, he shows us a way out of the mess that crude market rationales have made of public service provision. Read it! And for those who can Act on it!’ - David Byrne, Professor of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University, UK