Collaborative Problem Solving in a Complex Governance System: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and the Challenge to Break Path Dependency

Arwin Buuren*, Frank Boons, Geert Teisman

*Corresponding author for this work

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The question of how to organize collaborative problem solving efforts when collective action is necessary has received considerable attention in the scientific literature. However, many such contributions neglect the role of the governance system in which processes evolve. These systems are complex, and the actors involved have a high degree of self-organizing capacity at their disposal. Actors create and recreate the rules of the game, draw and redraw boundaries, and develop and redevelop patterns of interaction. The governance of the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol demonstrates the complexity of a compounded governance system and the influence this has on collaborative problem solving. In this paper, we analyse two attempts to organize collaborative problem-solving efforts. Although the government assumed itself to be in charge, we demonstrate that the collaborative problem-solving efforts are seriously hampered by the self-organizing capacity of actors in neighbouring subsystems. Copyright (c) 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-130
JournalSystems Research and Behavioral Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

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