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Mary Lee Rhodes

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Siobhan McQuaid, Mary Lee Rhodes and Aitzibe Egusquiza Ortega

Climate change initiatives need to be better managed by public management scholars and practitioners as they are fast becoming critical elements of public policy design and implementation. The EC and UN have recently identified nature-based solutions (NBS) as a policy priority with significant potential to mitigate against climate change and contribute to UN SDGs. Public sector theory provides a rich set of governance models which may be profitably applied to climate change initiatives such as NBS. To date however there have been relatively few studies of climate change governance in public management literature. In contrast, environmental governance literature has provided rich insights on this topic. This chapter introduces the ‘Key Actors Governance Framework’ to help identify alignment between public sector management models and NBS governance models. It can be seen that NBS governance models correspond to recognized public management/environmental governance models when seen through the ‘lens’ of the KAGF.

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Max French, Toby Lowe, Rob Wilson, Mary-Lee Rhodes and Melissa Hawkins

Governments, philanthropic agencies and public sector organisations have given increasing primacy to outcomes across their operations in recent years, particularly within the domain of performance management. We argue that societal outcomes challenge public agencies to respond to four specific forms of complexity - compositional, experiential, dynamic and governance complexities - which taken together confound the conceptual basis of traditional performance management systems. We adopt this understanding of complexity in a constructive capacity to consider the design parameters of a complexity-appropriate performance management system. We conclude that two theoretical transitions are necessary in a complexity-appropriate performance management approach: a shift from principal-agent theory to stewardship theory, and from technical to social management control theory. We explore the characteristics which such a model of performance management might take in practice, and conclude by outlining a research agenda to explore the potential applications of this new approach.

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Christopher Koliba, Lasse Gerrits, Mary Lee Rhodes and Jack W. Meek

The recognition that wicked problems persist across and are to be resolved within poly-centric governance arrangements, and that policies are a deeply contingent phenomenon, serves as the foundation for contemporary applications of complexity science and theory to the study of governance. This chapter traces important foundations that contribute to our understanding of complexity, network and systems theories and methodologies in addressing wicked and persistent problems. In the process, we emphasize important tasks of integrating complexity theory and methods with governance research, a focus on system levels of governance, and the development of complexity-friendly methods in this developing field of research. The implications for harnessing complexity for good governance are drawn.