Attempts to apply complexity theory to public management have focused on the dynamic systems environment. This accepts that in public systems there are many externalities, unstable processes, and indeterminate outcomes. Resulting practices have focused on system resilience, patterns of practice, and adaptability. This article revisits complex systems and theorizes public organizations as dynamic systems of public values. The rigour of such an original approach requires a juxtaposition of values with complexity theory. Theorizing value systems in public policy implies they are a key element of complexity and provides a significant development for understanding stable and unstable dynamics in public organizations.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Public Management Review on 14/08/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14719037.2017.1364411
- Complexity theory
- public values
- complex systems
- public value