Coping with intractable controversies: The case for problem structuring in policy design and analysis

Matthijs Hisschemöller*, Rob Hoppe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

191 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Intractable controversies and other types of policy disagreements correspond to policy problems with a different structure. The more structured a problem is, the more consensus there is about which values and information are at stake in the process of problem solving. Policymakers like to treat problems in as structured a way as possible. Three policy strategies are described to move away from the unstructured to the more structured problem type. However, policymakers run the risk of oversimplifying an ill-structured problem, which means that elements of the problem situation relevant to other actors are overlooked or denied. Hence, policy controversies may become intractable. The remedy is a fourth strategy, characterised by problem structuring. This strategy requires political participation of actors with different views on the problem, and an argued political problem choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-60
Number of pages21
JournalKnowledge and Policy
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

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