|Title||Seeking Simple Models of Highly Nuanced Systems: Building a Model of Water Quality Management|
|Publication Type||Conference Paper and Presentation|
|Year of Publication||2013|
|Authors||Scheinert, S, Koliba, C, Zia, A, Reynolds, A|
|Conference Name||Annual Conference of the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)|
|Conference Location||Washington DC|
Governance networks are complex adaptive systems (Koliba et al., 2010). That is, a governance network is characterized by non-linear and multi-threaded processes, and unexpected emergent properties that often grow from actors’ behaviors informed by simple decision and interaction rules (Johnson, 2002; Axelrod and Cohen, 2000; Holland, 1996, 1992). Understanding the changes to a governance network over time can provide insights into important governance matters: selection of policy tools, mobilization of policy actors and ascriptions of tasks to achieve certain goals. These insights can be used to guide public managers in their on-going efforts to produce effective and appropriate governance strategies. However, tracking the evolution of governance networks over time poses challenges (Pierson, 2004) that include establishing network boundaries and possessing adequate data sources to describe and model changes to a network. In this situation, one place where governance network structures are more clearly articulated is in comprehensive strategic plans, which define network actors, their roles, and the policy tools and tasks they seek to mobilize. Analyzing how these reified network structures change over time among different versions of strategic plans provides us with an opportunity to understand emergent governance network structures.
Seeking Simple Models of Highly Nuanced Systems: Building a Model of Water Quality Management