Of late, more and more politicians are telling us that we need decisiveness and that at long last decisions need to be made. The media is keen to pick up on these sounds. One could even rightfully claim that the media actively participates in this image-formation. Thus a situation is created that various commentators and scientists have come to refer to as a drama democracy: a democracy in which politics has become personified and theatrical. Displaying powerful images and directing the show have become more important for politicians than the implementation of policy.
However, this drama democracy is at loggerheads with everyday reality, in which complex policy issues, such as the restructuring of a housing estate, the realisation of water storage or the promotion of the quality of education have to be solved. The parties involved in that reality often want different things, and do not agree on the nature of the problem. Often we do not know what a good solution is at the beginning of the process, and knowledge of the network and the parties involved in making the decisions, as well as the implementation reality, is indispensable. Carefully managing these processes as well as ensuring various forms of democratic anchorage are crucial for finding good social outcomes. This involves commitment from various parties and a certain amount of dedication to the process instead of powerful, unilateral, political interventions.

An abridged version of this text was delivered as the inaugural speech on June 20, 2008 at the acceptance of the chair “Public Administration, in particular policy and management issues”, at the Department of Public Administration of the faculty of Social Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Klijn, E-H. (2008, June 20). It's the management stupid!: On the importance of management in complex policy issues. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/106008