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Governance, performance, and chronic capacity stress in public policy systems

Bastow, Simon (2013) Governance, performance, and chronic capacity stress in public policy systems. . LSE Public Policy Group, London, UK.

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Public policy systems often betray signs of capacity stress. Supply factors seem to lag behind demand, and as a result these systems sustain what appears to be chronically sub-optimal performance neither completely excelling nor completely failing in what they do. How should we interpret these syndromes? Although competing theoretical explanations can shed partial light, potential ‘blind spots’ between them mean that they are not able to capture capacity stress in its entirety. In this paper I introduce the concept of ‘chronic capacity stress’ (CCS) as a holistic governance-style approach. I show how capacity stress is closely associated with four interrelated factors: 1) misalignment between policy goals and the external environment; 2) cultures of coping and adaptation; 3) direct and benign resistance to change; and 4) sustained obsolescence and inefficiency. The CCS heuristic provides a useful way of understanding dialectical dynamics of stress and equilibrium in UK policy systems.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 The Author
Divisions: Government
Public Policy Group
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2013 10:32
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2020 00:55

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