This article introduces transition management as a new governance approach for sustainable development. Sustainable development is used here as a common notion referring to those persistent problems in (Western industrialized) societies that can only be dealt with on the very long term (decades or more) through specific types of network and decision-making processes. Based on interdisciplinary research into complex processes of long term, structural change in society, basic tenets for complexity-based governance are formulated. These tenets are translated into a framework that distinguishes between four different types of governance activities and their respective roles in societal transitions. This framework can be used for implementation of governance strategies and instruments. The approach and framework have been developed deductively and inductively in the Netherlands since 2000. This article presents the theoretical basis of transition management and will be illustrated by examples from transition management practice, especially the Dutch national energy transition program.
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Loorbach, D. (2010). Transition Management for Sustainable Development: A Prescriptive, Complexity-Based Governance Framework. Governance, 23(1), 161–183. Retrieved from