Complex systems, governance and policy administration consequences*
Volume: 9, Issue 1-2
This paper combines insights from literature on complex systems theory and the conjunctive state, applies them to new challenges facing public administrators in metropolitan areas, and tests them in a case study of the Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles County (POALAC). The argument is advanced that administrative networks, shared governance, and co-production of public services developed in the conjunctive state are real-world exemplars of the emergent properties of complex adaptive systems (CAS). As the production of social capital and public trust of government decline in response to the increasing inability of hierarchical, top-down, command-and-control institutions to solve complex societal problems, the fundamental nature of associations and relations among citizens, policy makers, civic leaders, and government is changing in metropolitan areas as government slowly shifts toward governance. The case study of POALAC reveals a coordinated networked administrative response to the complexity of regional law enforcement consistent with theoretical predictions.